Clerks II

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Review #193 of 365
Film: Clerks II [R] 97 minutes
WIP™ Scale: $9.00
Where Viewed: AMC Ontario Mills 30, Ontario, CA
When 1st Seen: 23 July 2006
Time: 6:35 p.m.


Click for 'Review Lite' [a 150-word review of this film]
I am only guessing, but I think it would be kind of fun to write a screenplay, cast a lot of my friends and myself in the movie; and, over time, populate other films and screenplays with the characters (played by my friends) that I had created, and basically create my own little film universe. Yeah! That would be fun. If only it were possible?!?! Turns out, it's been done. Enter Kevin Smith. Circa 1994, Mr. Smith unleashed onto the world, the first view of what has come to be known as his "Askewniverse"—a world where you actually get to see the unusual side of the lives of the odd characters he creates—in this case it was via the film Clerks. Clerks was the day in the life of two convenience store clerks named Dante Hicks (Brian O'Halloran) and Randal Graves (Jeff Anderson). These two tell it how it is and do things that are, perhaps, what most people would think of as, putting it politely, unsavory. The film introduced audiences to Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Kevin Smith)—two of the more enduring characters from the film—as well as others. Well, fast forward ten years. Kevin Smith, having vowed not to make a sequel, finally decided to write a sequel that would show what happened to Dante, Randal, Jay, and Silent Bob, and Clerks II was born…hatched?

Clerks II starts off with Dante arriving at the Quick Stop only to find it has been nearly burned to the ground. Yep, Randal forgot to turn off the coffee pot again. The two need work, and given their limited skill set, get jobs at Mooby Burgers—a resturant with a menu laden with cow/milk puns including a 7-decker burger called the "cow tipper". Here, Dante and Randal are managed by Becky (Rosario Dawson) who has been running the Mooby Burger joint for a couple of years. Worried this won't work or won't be funny or won't provide fertile ground for Randal to continue to stoop to the lowest common denominator and for Dante to try to show him the high road? Well don't. Randal will always be Randal. Worried about what ever happened to Jay and Silent Bob? Well, don't, they are back from a six-month stint in prison for possession and, with the loss of Quick Stop, take to hanging in front of the Mooby Burger joint. Mooby Burger employee of the month, Elias (Trevor Fehrman), serves as the bait for a lot of Randal's new routines as he bashes the poor kid for his adoration of the Transformers and Peter Jackson's version of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Meanwhile, Dante, is settling down and getting married. That's right. But, it's complicated because he fooled around a bit with Becky, and it's unclear the depth of their true affection.

"...funny, though often in a highly embarrassing way…not for everyone! This is, after all, a film from Kevin Smith's Askewniverse."
That is pretty much how Clerks II gets going. Obviously, you might expect there are some good cameos by members of the Kevin Smith fan club like Ben Affleck and Jason Lee, and you would be correct as both appear. Mr. Lee plays an instrumental role that causes Randal to doubt his life choices. Ultimately, Clerks II has a couple of good messages to impart. First, believe it or not, sometimes our friends are incredibly loyal to us to the point of developing a loving (in a non-sexual meaning) relationship. We may not see this, and therefore might make mistakes with it. This happens when Dante plans to get married and move to Florida effectively abandoning Randal. Second, the film advocates the notion that people should not give up on their dreams regardless of whether they wasted 10 years of their lives working in opposition to them. Both of these are valuable life lessons. Of course, this is Clerks II, this is not an ABC Afterschool Special. If you are looking for a film without vulgarity, constant references to sexual practices, gross out scenes, nasty practical jokes, drug references, continual sexual tension, and interspecies erotica, DO NOT SEE THIS FILM. This is, after all, a film from Kevin Smith's Askewniverse. There are a lot of people who find this kind of material morally reprehensible. I vacillate, myself, in trying very hard to understand why things need to be pushed so low. Kevin Smith is an incredibly talented writer/director/actor. His characters are ripe. So, why not have taken Clerks II on a different path showing what happens when people really start to grow up and start to distance themselves from that lowest common denominator, take more responsibility, find vulgar language and comedy less funny, and hope for a bit more of an intellectual edge to their films? I think the film could have been a masterpiece of nostalgia had he gone this route. Instead, what we get is Clerks updated not Clerks grown up. The film is very funny, though often in a highly embarrassing way. This should not excuse the fact that Mr. Smith did not push himself to the next level in his art. For this, I will have to offer a strong bit of disappointment. I really enjoyed seeing Jeff Anderson and Brian O'Halloran again in these roles. There is a chemistry between them that's hard not to like. Same goes for Jay and Silent Bob. I also thought that Rosario Dawson and Trevor Fehrman did wonderful jobs with their characters and character development. The production qualities were modest making the film look a lot like the original. Fans of the original will probably get a kick out of the film. Newbies will probably find something. Others should probably avoid this all together rather than getting yourself all hot under the collar. This film is not for everyone!

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Projects Starring: Kevin SmithBrian O'HalloranJeff Anderson
Jason MewesTrevor FehrmanRosario Dawson
Ben Affleck
Projects Directed by: Kevin Smith
CD Soundtrack
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Clerk II Review-lite [150-word cap]
Did you fall asleep and wake up in Kevin Smith's "Askewniverse". If you think you are seeing clerks Dante Hicks (Brian O'Halloran) and Randal Graves (Jeff Anderson) and slackers, Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Kevin Smith) ten years older, you are not imagining things, you are now seeing Clerks II. Mr. Smith has brought back his original cast to show what happened to them ten years later. The Quick Stop has burned down, and everyone has regrouped as employees (or loiterers) of Mooby Burgers—a resturant with a menu laden with cow/milk puns. New characters, the manager, Becky (Rosario Dawson)and Elias (Trevor Fehrman), serve as the bait for Randal's new routines. Cameos by Ben Affleck and Jason Lee were fun, but be forewarned that this is Clerks II NOT an ABC Family Channel drama. Plan on a lot of vulgarity. The film is funny in an embarrassing way.

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