Clerks 2 is outrageously funny, foul and touching – just like its predecessor. Kevin Smith has an ear for dialogue and there are enough pop culture references here to keep a viewer amused long after the end credits.
Clerks 2 not only signals the return of Brian O’Halloran and Jeff Anderson’s characters but also Jay (Jason Mewes) and his hetero soul mate Silent Bob (Kevin Smith). Aside from the usual View Askew cast members is Rosario Dawson, who surprisingly turns in one of the most sincere performances seen in recent comedies.
This is a comedy that most parents will hate or not understand, especially if they haven’t seen a Kevin Smith film before. I suspect a number of viewers who did not enjoy the movie will criticize those who found it amusing. Everyone has an opinion, and this is a movie you will either love or hate.
Smith’s new comedy-sequel is a combination of three films rolled into one. It is:
a) a film that pays homage to other Smith films
b) an offensive comedy
c) a love story about growing up and making right choices.
The third part is where the movie reveals its charming side. Like with his previous works, Smith pulls off a few nasty tricks and gets away with everything.
The first Clerks (1994) introduced the characters of Dante Hicks, Randal Graves, Jay, and Silent Bob. It was Kevin Smith’s first movie, his claim to fame and an example of a well-made, low-budget, independent movie. With the sequel Smith is, more or less, returning to his filmmaking roots. This time around, he achieves laughs with a bigger budgeted movie that was
appropriately filmed in colour.
Twelve years have passed since Dante (Brian O’Halloran) and Randal (Jeff Anderson) avoided troubles at the Quick Stop, a local supermarket where they were employed as clerks.
Early on in Clerks 2 a severe fire leaves the Quick Stop in ruins – forcing the clerks to settle at Mooby’s, a fictional fast-food restaurant. Whenever a customer enters the restaurant, a cow’s mooing can be heard in the background. Mooby’s, for those who recall, was first introduced to viewers in Smith’s Dogma (1999). It also appeared in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001).
The main characters haven’t changed. They are loud, coarse, opinionated and not very professional at work. Several of their arguments in Clerks 2 are uproarious, especially when a customer tries to convince Dante that the Lord of the Rings trilogy is superior to the Star Wars movies.
Watch for the moment when Dante sums up Peter Jackson’s films. There is also a recurring joke: Randall constantly refers to Anne Frank instead of Anne Keller. Rosario Dawson as Becky, the manager at Mooby’s, is a fine choice for a female lead. She is simply charming and cool. There are cameo appearances (I will not reveal them here) which also add to the fun. Sequels are seldom as fulfilling as their predecessors. Very few writers are able to continue telling a story, even if it is actually worth continuing.
Often, writers opt for sequels for financial reasons – if the first film is a success, chances are people will rush to see the sequel, whether it is good or bad.
But Smith stands in a category of his own. He never seems to make a movie just to be making a movie. One can watch his film and claim the humour is bland. But for those familiar with Smith’s work, it’s like having a sweet tooth and being offered plenty of candy.