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Clerks II
Review written on: July 21st, 2006

Clerks II Review

Clerks II. Possibly the most highly anticipated comedy sequel ever. Who would have imagined watching people in their thirties work at a fast food place would be so entertaining? The master of movies about everyday life, that’s who. This is a man who made a movie about two guys that work at a video store and a convenience store, respectively (Clerks.). He made a movie about losers that hang out at the mall all day (Mallrats). He made a movie about what happens when a girl comes between two best friends (Chasing Amy). He made a movie about the loss of faith and how odd circumstances can bring it back (Dogma). He made a movie about the love between a father and his daughter (Jersey Girl). (I purposely skipped over Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back because that one was made just for the fans.) While I realize that all of his films are much more involved than my short summaries, those real issues are what is at the heart of his films. Kevin Smith has done what Jerry Seinfeld strived for, but could never do – he made art based on reality and made it seem real. Whereas every “Seinfeld” episode had a twinge of truth and a whole lot of stupidity, every Kevin Smith film feels real. Even the extraordinary feels ordinary in Smith‘s films, in the best of ways.

My love-fest with the View Askew films aside, this is a great movie. It’s funny, it’s heartfelt, it has Ben Affleck in it, even for a few precious seconds…

Seriously, go see this movie, right now. Stop reading. Go out and buy a ticket.

If you’re still reading, I guess you want me to say why I think you should go see this movie right now. First of all, Jeff Anderson is the star of this film. He may not be credited first, and we may remember Randal Graves as playing sidekick to Dante Hicks in the first Clerks oh-so-long-ago, but this time around Randal is center-stage. (Side note: in the first movie, he was always my favorite. Mainly because he said things to customers I would never in a million years dream of saying out loud.) Dante’s impending move and wedding, and the drama between Becky and Dante are almost like the side road you take so you can breathe for a few seconds while Randal is off-screen. While the relationship situation is sweet and endearing and carries the plot of the movie, Randal steals the show.

Another scene-stealer is Trevor Fehrman as Elias, the naive and geeky coworker. His love for The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy and his excitement over the upcoming Transformers live-action film (that’s really being made – it’s not a clever thing made up by Smith) make the audience love him, and Randal hate him. Granted, Randal hates everyone, but he especially revels in making fun of Elias for every single sentence that comes out of his mouth. While most actors would have come off as trying to be innocent and sincere, Fehrman really seems as if he truly believes every word Smith wrote for him.

Another breath of fresh air is Rosario Dawson. I was nervous when I heard she was going to be in this movie. It was like when I heard Catherine Zeta-Jones was going to be in Ocean’s Twelve. Immediately I thought, “How is that going to work? She can’t possibly fit in with that foul-mouthed crew. She’s going to ruin the movie.” I have to say I was blown away by how easily she fits into the View Askewniverse. She seems like she was one of the gang from the beginning, as if she went to a neighboring high school like Alyssa did in Chasing Amy.

Brian O’Halloran reprises his role as Dante Hicks, the guy who wasn’t supposed to be here today. And ten years later, he’s still complaining about his dead-end job, even though he has a semi-bright future ahead of him. I think I give O’Halloran less credit than he deserves because I can’t stand Dante. As a character, he’s wonderfully written and acted. However, watching him is painful – he’s whiny and indecisive. He hates his life, but never tries to change it. He blames all his problems on Randal and never realizes that Randal is the best thing in his life.

Now for the plot – I love it. Simple as that. I was afraid any story there was to tell about Randal and Dante was going to be contrived or feel forced. This seemed like the natural unfolding of their tale. As if we picked up right where we left off with them, granted ten years later. The end scene made the movie. Again, I have to say Jeff Anderson is the star of this film. That’s all I can say.

One major gripe: Jason Lee doesn’t appear as one of his previous characters. He’s played two different characters for Kevin Smith – Banky Edwards and Brodie Bruce, yet in this movie he’s some guy we’ve never heard of. Yes, I’m thrilled he was even in the movie, but why not as Banky or Brodie?

There were a couple of other random scenes, two in fact, that I thought were arbitrary. One of them was fun, but still arbitrary. Not to discredit Smith at all…maybe there’s just something I was missing about the scenes.

Jay and Silent Bob, as usual, were awesome. Hanging out, annoying the clerks…and the only people in 2006 who regularly listen to mixtapes. Also, possibly the best instance of Silent Bob speaking in the history of the movies. Don’t get me wrong, the Chasing Amy speech is great, but this is just too clever.

One last note…awesome soundtrack.

And that’s my long review. One thing I don’t agree with is the line in the commercials that says you’ll love it even if you haven’t seen Clerks. It’s possible. I wouldn’t be able to tell, since I’ve seen Clerks., many times. But I just think that to truly love these characters, it helps to have known them ten years ago.

 

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