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"Clerks II"

Directed by Kevin Smith.
Written by Kevin Smith.
Starring Brian O'Halloran, Jeff Anderson, Rosario Dawson and Jason Mewes.
Release Year:  2006
Review Date:  7/26/06

Folks--

To make sure I was in "the now", I watched the original "Clerks" two nights ago.  I didn't love it as much as when I first watched it, but it was still funny, from the crazy anti-smoking nut (that happened to work for a gum distributor) to the high volume of guys that Dante's girlfriend blew to the way that Randal stepped all over every customer he meets.  The rapid-fire, obviously-rehearsed dialogue worked because the shit was just funny; the black-and-white film only makes the thing more special because you know how low-budget the whole thing is.

Here's what I know about "Clerks II", and my friend Danielle can help back this up because she was sitting there right next to me--despite two or three VERY funny scenes, "Clerks II" should have never been made.  Obviously, "Clerks" put writer/director/Silent Bob star Kevin Smith on the map, but I don't think it was wise to tap back into the thing that made him a big star.  Here's what else I know about "Clerks II", which is strangely similar to "Lady in the Water" in many ways:

  1. We knew it before, we know it now:  stars Brian O'Halloran (Dante) and Jeff Anderson (Randal) just aren't very good actors.  O'Halloran gets away with it a little more because he's always whining, but even in the original, you knew that those two were never going to be break-out stars, and true-to-form, in the 12 years since the original, these two have really only appeared in Smith's other films.  Speaking of which,

  2. Now that we can look at his entire body of work, you've got to admit--Kevin Smith is a very average, maybe even below-average, writer/director.  His appeal to the nerd population saves movies like "Chasing Amy" because everyone loves "Star Wars" jibes and lesbians, but if you take out "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back" (funny ONLY if you have seen all of Smith's other films), the other movies Smith has made--"Mallrats", "Jersey Girl", and "Dogma", in addition to "Clerks II"--are somewhere between blah and fucking awful dogshit.  Is it fair to say that he just got lucky with the original "Clerks"?  I think so.

  3. You can be as obscene as possible--and "Clerks II" crosses every line in the book, leading up to the worst sex scene imaginable--but at some point you've still got to be kinda funny.  Once again, the Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob combo provides a few laughs, although Mewes' one-trick pony of constant profanity doesn't work as well here as in past Smith films.  The addition of Rosario Dawson as the manager of the new store where Dante and Randal work gives us sex appeal but not much comedy; the laughs provided by third-wheel employee Elias (Trevor Fehrman) are great in one scene, but generally are non-existent.  A silly dance number and another silly montage don't work that well either...and, like the original "Clerks", we spend a bit too much time on Dante's relationships with various women.  Blah

And then, other things that made the original "Clerks" so good are not on display here.  Little things are gone, like the segways in-between each scene...bigger things, like peculiar customers, are the real missing link here, since only cameos by Smith regular Jason Lee and a short scene with Wanda Sykes really register.  Given all of the people that have starred in past Smith films, are you telling me he couldn't get a better scene for Ben Affleck, or any scenes at all for Joey Lauren Adams, or Chris Rock, or Matt Damon, or Shannon Doherty???  And, am I really to believe that Smith--a world-renowned comic lover and someone that I would imagine liked the "Lord of the Rings" films due to their fantasy background--would spend five minutes trashing everything about the Peter Jackson films?

Like I said above, "Clerks II" has a couple of absolutely hilarious scenes, but they are not enough to make the film rise much above a home viewing.  I certainly wouldn't want to see it again; there's aren't even the kind of lines that I'll be repeating to friends later.  Very disappointing; again, I would never have made a sequel to my meal ticket if I were Smith, but that's why he's making the movies and I'm trashing them.

Rating:  Rental

 

Comments?  Drop me a line at justin@bellviewmovies.com.

 

Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/bellviewmovies.com except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09