Friday, July 21, 2006


Woo hoo! 'Clerks II'

Box-office news flash!
Clerks II placed fourth behind Pirates of the Caribbean, Monster House and Lady in the Water this weekend. According to Box Office Mojo, "Clerks II served up an estimated $9.6 million at 2,150 locations, a decent start by the raunchy workplace comedy's low budget standards. Writer-director-actor Kevin Smith's brand has not grown beyond a small niche in the years since the first Clerks' modest release in 1994, despite media hype that's been proportionally much higher than the $20 million to $30 million his pictures tend to eke out of theaters."

Here now, my review:
Only the depraved mind of Kevin Smith - and perhaps the Farelly brothers - could concoct a movie as crude and fun as Clerks II, which opened this weekend. Twelve years after Smith's debut, the original Clerks, he's assembled the same cast of Jersey schmoes, dorks and stoners for an update that finds them working at a fast-food restaurant (because their beloved Quick Stop convenience store burns down in the opening scene).

Both films are essentially double-buddy movies focusing on the inane lives of "clerks" Randall (Jeff Anderson) and Dante (Brian O'Hallaron), and pot dealers Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Smith), who do their business outside the store. Not much has changed over the years, except for the store location and the age-factor. Dante's engaged and planning to move to Florida, leaving the forlorn Randall behind. But Dante's also involved with Mooby's manager, Becky (Rosario Dawson). When he finds out she's pregnant, his plans eventually go up in smoke.

With his non-stop clueless wisecracks, Anderson steals the movie. O'Halloran, in the unenviable straight-man dramatic role, isn't a good enough actor to pull it off. Pairing him with the sexy Dawson doesn't help; they're not a believeable couple. Predictably, the geek chorus of Jay and Silent Bob provides some of the film's lower moments (Mewes goes frontal and bears his butt). And then there's the donkey-sex scene that needs no further explanation.

I expected to dislike Clerks II, but came away realizing it's a smart career-move for Smith, who faltered in 2004 with Jersey Girl. Clerks II may be dopey, but it has a heart of gold.


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