Clerks IIMikey 4 comments
Kevin Smith's story telling style is an acquired taste for most people. In 1994 Smith directed his first feature film - 'Clerks', a story revolving around a single day in the life of two convenience store jockeys, Randal (Jeff Anderson) and Dante (Brian O'Halloran).
Shot on a $US27,000 budget and filmed in black and white to keep costs down, Smith shot the film in a way that would define his directorial style from there onwards, letting his characters guide the movie rather than rely on any fancy camera work or effects.
While you may not have heard the name Kevin Smith, you would probably have heard some of the names whose careers he has contributed much too, such as Jason Lee and Ben Affleck to name a couple, both of whom make cameos in most of his films including Clerks II.
When I first saw Clerks 12 years ago it immediately appealed to the demographic I fell under, making it one of my favourite movies of all time. It spoke in a language I understood. Smith's later efforts although entertaining, were nothing compared to the fast paced, argumentative social commentary that made Clerks so damn funny and interesting. The anti-Hollywood styling and that 90% of the people who saw it simply 'didn't get it' made Clerks even more appealing to my generation.
12 years later and my reluctance to see a sequel is somewhat shared among my peers of the same age. Preserve the legend or risk cheapening it forever? That is the question. I chose the former, and with that naturally followed this review.
Clerks II is set (coincidentally) nearly 12 years after the original movie, and once again revolves around the events of a single day. The Quick Stop convenience store Dante and Randal used to work at was destroyed by fire thanks to Randal's absent mindedness, and now in their early 30's our protagonists are flipping burgers for fast food restaurant, Moobies.
Loveable drug dealers Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Kevin Smith) are back for this sequel having 'found God' and still pass time by loitering outside the building and selling dope. But they no longer use it themselves.
It's Dante's last day of work at Moobies, and he no longer complains about life dealing him a bum hand since his 'too good to be true' engagement to Emma (Smith's real life wife, Jennifer Schwalbach Smith), completely ignorant of the fact she is way out of his league. Emma is Dante's complete dream package and his golden ticket to the life outside of Jersey he has always desired.
Randal on the other hand has not changed at all, casually accepting his role in society without reservation, except this time with a hint of wanting more. His messed up attitude is still the same, finding ways to undermine or insult any non-deserving target.
Becky (Rosario Dawson) is the restaurant owner, their boss, and reluctant to admit her feelings towards Dante at risk of ruining his 'good thing' with Emma. Becky also shared a one night fling with Dante a couple of weeks earlier.
Elias (Trevor Fehrman) gives a show-stealing performance as the ignorant god fearing co-worker. His brain-washed morals and concept of sexual relations makes one of the film's most hilariously disturbing scenes.
In short, Randal disapproves of Emma and thinks Dante is making a mistake when it's obvious the better woman (Becky) is right under his nose. Becky has feelings for Dante but makes excuses to herself for not perusing a relationship with him. Dante is ignorant of Becky's feelings for him until she reveals she is pregnant with his baby, a result of the one night fling they had earlier. It's a classic love story underneath but that is not what Clerks fans come to see.
Just like the previous Clerks movie, the plot is irrelevant as the real substance is derived from the fast talking, insignificant rants and arguments between Randal, Dante and any customers who might get in the way. These are the same types of conversations we have all had at one stage or another in our lives, usually late at night after some heavy drinking, where our true feelings and opinions are revealed.
The conversations regarding racial slur semantics, juvenile high school pranks and Lord of the Rings vs Star Wars banter all lead up to a near tear jerking finale involving a life changing conversation between Dante and Randal.
If you can excuse the over use of the 'F' word and you are not easily offended by 'inter-species erotica' you may just fall in love with Clerks II. If you are a fan of the first film you should not be disappointed because ultimately it is more of the same 'Smith-ness' that made you a fan in the first place. For me, my faith in Kevin Smith has been restored.
Randal (Jeff Anderson) and Dante (Brian O'Halloran)
Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Kevin Smith - also the film's Director)
Lance 'Pickel F*cker' Dowds (Jason Lee)
Dante drops a bombshell on Randal that ultimately leads to a life changing event
Becky (Rosario Dawson)