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Tuesday, July 25, 2006


Every now and then I see a movie that I enjoy so much that I just can’t get it out of my head and I even dream about it right after I’ve seen it. Such a film is Kevin Smith’s riotous CLERKS II.

Picking up about a decade after the original indie hit, we find Dante Hicks (Brian O’Halloran) and Randall Graves (Jeff Anderson) having progressed no further in their meaningless careers as clerks at the familiar Quick Stop convenience store/video rental establishment, except that they now work at a Mooby’s fast food after the Quick Stop burns to the ground during the story’s first two minutes. Randall is every bit as side-splittingly foul as he was the first time around, but Dante is engaged to wed Emma (played by the director’s painfully untalented wife, Jennifer Schwalbach, who previously stunk up the place in a mercifully small turn in JAY & SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK) and move to Florida, despite the strong feelings he harbors for his hot boss, Becky (Rosario Dawson), feelings that she also shares.

The threadbare “story” follows the structure of the original film, taking place during the course of a single workday — in this case Dante’s final day on the job — and chronicles the staff’s adventures with all manner of distractions, pretty much anything but work, with cult heroes Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Kevin Smith) hanging around outside the fast food joint — right next to a huge piece of Randall-provided graffiti that reads “Eat Pussy” — and providing assorted moments of illicit lunacy.

That’s it, but within this non-scenario Smith manages to cram a cornucopia of his trademark dialogue/tasteless humor that more than makes up for the agonizing cinematic Chernobyl of JERSEY GIRL.

Not surprisingly, the morass of filthy jokes yields some real treasures of content, such as:
  • The final word on “ass-to-mouth” etiquette.
  • Jay’s jaw-dropping tribute to Jame Gumm.
  • Great performances all round, especially O’Halloran and Dawson’s sweet relationship.
  • A hilarious running gag using King Diamond’s demonic metal classic “Welcome Home.”
  • The now-infamous Tijuana-style donkey show, the mere mention of which prompted film critic/utter douchebag Joel Seigel to loudly walk out of the film at the forty-minute mark.
  • A fun musical number that comes from out of nowhere.
  • Trevor Fehrman’s Elias, a Christian uber-geek who is funny enough, but his tale of “Pillow Pants” is one for the ages.
  • An outrageously hysterical debate over the merits of the STAR WARS and LORD OF THE RINGS trilogies, highlighted by Randall’s priceless — and not inaccurate — less-than-sixty-second reenactment of the three RINGS flicks.
  • Randall’s cluless defense of an ethnic slur and his attempts to “take it back” as a term of endearment.
But the biggest pluses here are Smith proving that he can actually handle a solid romance — sorry, but I didn’t buy CHASING AMY — and a believable examination of male friendship; I went in expecting a shitload of dick and faggot jokes, but did not foresee how much heart the film turned out to possess.

Bottom line: if you enjoy Smith brand of raunchy humor, CLERKS II is a vulgarian’s delight, and most others should tread carefully.

Ivan (GHOSTBUSTERS, STRIPES) Reitman’s MY SUPER EX-GIRLFRIEND has more true comic spirit — in both senses of the term — than any of this year’s mega-budget super-hero opuses, and is a fun way to kill an hour and a half. The basic premise is pretty much FATAL ATTRACTION, only done as a comedy with the Glenn Close character equipped with the same powers as Superman. It’s pretty fluffy stuff, but taken for what it is, this is pretty enjoyable, with some very funny gags and a few really cool bits involving G-Girl (Uma Thurman) alternately saving the day and neurotically abusing her abilities while making her ex-boyfriend (Luke Wilson) completely miserable. And Eddie Izzard’s turn as Professor Bedlam, G-Girl’s arch-nemesis, is great fun, complete with the most understandable motivation for a supervillain’s bitterness since Lex Luthor blaming his baldness on Superboy.

Uma Thurman as G-Girl.

But I do have one question: exactly why does the super-woman call herself G-Girl? That tidbit is mulled over briefly, but never answered. Isn't she a little long in the tooth to be calling herself "girl?" Also, G-Girl’s character is so neurotic that she’s pretty much every premenstrual stereotype writ large, so keep that in mind.

Bottom line: fun, but pay only matinee or DVD rental price.



Jared said...

Clerks 2 was great. Kevin Smith's wife's lack of talent is part of her charm.If she could act that wouldn't be interesting at all.
I'm not sure about your Chasing Amy comment. Of course it wasn't a solid romance. Ben was trying to romance a gay chick. And it blew up in his face. What did you expect? Them to live happily ever after?
I haven't been able to sit through all of it but I think I have finally found a movie to compete with "Walks Like a Man" as the worst ever. "Date Movie" oh my stars and garters it's an anti-comedy of epic scale.

Bobby the Blue Baxojayz said...

I just can't WAIT to see Clerks 2 now. Your review is the best one yet, and I know you know your stuff.