Clerks II (2006)

DVD Cover (The Weinstein Company)
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Overall Rating 74%
Overall Rating
Ranked #1,057
...out of 12,601 movies
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Connections: Clerks View Askewniverse

A calamity at Dante and Randall's shops sends them looking for new horizons - but they ultimately settle at Mooby's, a fictional fast-food restaurant. Free from his dead-end job (and lodged in a new one), Dante begins to break free of his rut, planning to move away with his clingy fiancé. Dante is ready to leave the horrors of minimum-wage New Jersey behind, but Randal - always the more hostile of the two - starts to become overwhelmed by his own rancor. --IMDb
Review by Vash
Added: July 23, 2006
I want to start off this review with a little personal context for you. Clerks is one of my all-time favorite movies, and Kevin Smith is one of my favorite directors. I related to both Dante and Randal and identified with the issues that they skewered in the first Clerks movie, along with TS and Brody in Mallrats, as well as Holden and Banky in Chasing Amy. Kevin Smith is one of my favorite writers because his dialogue always makes sense to me. Given this information, it's understandable that I was more than a little apprehensive when I heard about a Clerks sequel. Is it necessary? Does it retain the feel of the original Clerks? Are Dante and Randal still enjoyable characters?

The answer to all of those questions is a yes, but Smith didn't knock this one out of the ballpark. The movie is enjoyable, but it is easily Smith's weakest effort to date. (Not including Jersey Girl as I have not seen it, nor do I care to.)

The plot, which has been heavily circulated over movie news sites this past year, takes place ten years after the original Clerks movie. Dante, now in his thirties, pulls up to the Quick Stop just as he did in 1994, but when he opens up the shutters, he finds the store on fire. Move forward a bit and he and Randal have found new jobs at a local fast food joint called Mooby's. It's Dante's last day before he moves off to Florida with his fiancée, but he has doubts about marriage and still has strong ties to his mundane life in Jersey. Joined by Transformers/Lord Of The Rings nerd Elias, their hot manager (and Dante's love interest) Becky, and of course Jay and Silent Bob, the titular clerks have a day full of unbelievable situations and touching personal discovery.

Clerks 2 is commendable for not using the first movie's gags as a crutch. It stands on its own as a sovereign movie, but stylistic touches still remain. Of course, it wouldn't be a Kevin Smith movie without truckloads of dialogue, and Clerks 2 definitely has this, only here it doesn't come as naturally as his movies have done in the past. Near the beginning of the movie, Randal has an argument with Elias and a customer about which trilogy is better, Lord Of The Rings or Star Wars. While geek culture references are commonplace in Smith's movies, here it feels somewhat tacked on. You get the impression that Randal doesn't actually care about which trilogy is better, he merely argues because his character is obligated to. Other token Smithisms, such as vulgar conversations about offensive sex acts, are at the forefront of the movie's dialogue, and though it's still funny, it seems thrown in for shock value more than something the characters would actually talk about.

That said, I think the movie handles its characters very well, and it does this by focusing more on the plot than stitching awkward situations together as his past movies have done. Other than Chasing Amy, this might be Smith's most subjective movie, and you genuinely care about the characters this time around. The plot focuses on Dante and Randal being in their thirties, yet still working dead end jobs as their old high school friends have moved on to bigger and better things. Where the first movie had themes of jaded youth, it also had a sense of wanting to break free from their mundane lifestyle. The second movie, in its old age, finds more value in settling down, and the way the characters come to realize that is truly touching.

But enough about the writing. Is it funny? Yes. Is it the funniest movie of the year? Not really. I found myself laughing throughout the movie, but not at subtle barbs in characters' conversation, but at on-screen humor acted out mostly by Jay, Randal and Elias. At first I thought this was somewhat juvenile, that Smith was capable of higher-brow humor than that, but it's genuinely funny. The style of humor is closest to Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back in that it's far more over the top than the original Clerks, but if you're a fan of that subtle humor, you'll be disappointed. As a director, Smith retains his economical style, but he fleshes it out as much as he possibly can. There are a few set pieces that are hilarious, but they also show him branching out as a director. There's a dance sequence in the movie (yes, a dance sequence) that is surprising, heartwarming and downright hysterical all at once, and moments like that are what won me over.

The themes in the movie are executed quite gracefully, and instead of seeming like a mere cash-in or cheap Hollywood sequel, the film works as a bookend to the original film. The themes of growing up make the first movie's themes of breaking out seem juvenile, and it ends on a sentimental (if not borderline cheesy) note that works very well, in my opinion. It took two of my favorite characters out of limbo and placed them in a much more fitting position, and that alone makes the movie legitimate.

In the end, Clerks 2 surprised me by being much better than a total disaster. It isn't. In fact, it's even a pretty funny movie on its own, and even with its pitfalls, it stands as a wholly enjoyable movie, although if you're a hardcore Kevin Smith fan, be warned: it's a whole different ballpark. If you love the first movie as much as I do, and you're going in expecting complete shit, you'll be pleasantly surprised. 7/10
bluemeanie #1: bluemeanie - added 07/27/2006, 04:05 PM
Decided to give this one a try. First off, I am not the biggest Kevin Smith fan. I think "Dogma" was a stroke of genius, but other than that, I find him to be in the mediocre department when it comes to filmmaking. I appreciate what "Clerks" did for independent cinema, but it really wasn't that great of a film. But, I wanted to give "Clerks II" a chance. And, I did. All-in-all, it was not a terrible film. However, did we really need it? No. I don't think it is going to be enough for most die hard fans of the original, and there was really no need to continue the saga. I really wish Kevin Smith would try his hand at something else other than Jay & Silent Bob. I wish he would try something with some new actors and some new set-ups. That would prove to me, and lots of other people, that he has the talent so many people believe he has. "Clerks II" was just okay. 5/10.
Lucid Dreams #2: Lucid Dreams - added 07/12/2010, 01:09 AM
Not Kevin's best piece of work, but it gave me a few laughs and a good donkey show. 7/10
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