By Fred Topel | Image property of The Weinstein Company.
Kevin Smith has done it again. Clerks II is his Temple of Doom. For that to make sense, I’m going to have to explain my feelings on Temple of Doom. Temple of Doom was no less of an Indiana Jones movie just because it’s a lot different from Raiders. It’s every bit as exciting an action/adventure, it’s just so interior and dark and hellish.
Well, Clerks II is every bit a Clerks movie with the guys standing around talking, but it’s a bolder, more emotional Clerks. The emotional parts of Clerks II are like the satanic parts of Temple of Doom. I mean that in the most positive way. It really sets up a Clerks III to be exactly like the original after this emotional journey the second time. I sure hope Kevin likes this analogy. He’d prefer Empire Strikes Back but I’m more of an Indy guy.
Clerks II Movie Review
Clerks II still has the “I don’t care” attitude of the service industry, thanks largely to Randall. But just opening with a shot of the Quick Stop burning to the ground shows that the film doesn’t even care if it burns down its legacy. Dante and Randall get jobs clerking at Mooby’s fast food, but now it’s Dante’s last day of work in all of New Jersey. He’s about to move to Florida with his hot fiancé (Smith’s real wife, Jennifer Schwalbach, who shows her chest in a see through bra, and makes out hardcore with Brian O’Halloran. How weird is that?)
Introspective talk begins pretty early on, with a new and improved Jay and Silent Bob. That shows you where it’s going, but Jay is still wearing a shirt from Dogma and Randall is still cruising weblogs to make fun of pop culture, and history this time. The most frequent pop targets are The Transformers and Lord of the Rings, all diatribes complete with religious metaphors and dirty talk. And plenty of logical discussions of vulgar sex acts.
There are hints of heavy real life things, like a character dealing with a father’s cancer treatment. Dante is still trying to figure his life out and ends up in a romantic triangle that’s suspiciously similar to your usual slew of romantic comedies. But the fact that it’s peppered with Jay’s dirty jokes and they address why this guy always ends up between two hot girls makes it uniquely Kevin Smith. Ultimately, the resolution is about Dante and Randall, not Dante and the ladies.
The third clerk, Elias, is great. He’s so sad it’s cute.
Clerks II features some of Kevin Smith’s boldest humor yet. He dares the religious right to a grudge match and hits on racism. There are plenty of recurring jokes throughout the film, so he still rewards you for paying attention. Whether or not “ass to mouth” is the new “37” will be determined when the masses experience pillage through the film’s vault of vulgarity. Maybe it’ll be “pussy troll.”
Clerks II is the most challenging kind of sequel. It delivers everything you wanted from an update of the original, but turns enough on its head to keep you on your toes. I can’t say whether you’ll like it as much as the Kevin Smith movie you’ve probably seen more than any other. But it’s the funniest movie since Wedding Crashers. I haven’t laughed out loud this hard all year. Frankly, Kevin Smith can do no wrong in my book.