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Posted on Friday, July 21st, 2006

Dave!The thing that makes Kevin Smith such a brilliant filmmaker is the way he can create a universe that seems more "real" than actual real-life. His characters always have witty, profound things to say, and are never at a loss for words in even the most bizarre situations. This was made clearly evident in his very first movie, Clerks which has long been one of my favorite films of all time.

Where Kevin falters is when he strays from his carefully-constructed reality and ruins the world he's built. This is why Mallrats, Jay & Silent Bob Strikes Back and Dogma will always be inferior to Chasing Amy and Clerks... sure they're entertaining, but the un-reality built into the movies spoil things for me. They rip me out of the film and turn me into a mere observer instead of a part of the story.

Clerks2 Rosario Dawson!

So which side of the fence does Clerks II land on? Well, it's a mixed bag. For the most part, it is everything I love about a Kevin Smith film, with only a few moments of distraction. An example... at one point in the movie, the luscious Rosario Dawson's character, Becky, is trying to teach Dante how to dance to The Jackson Five's ABC. It is a magical, heartwarming moment that's tempered with funny inserts of the other characters bopping along to the music. It's perfect. But then, for no reason at all, Jay and Silent Bob appear in pig-tails mugging for the camera as a dance number breaks out.


There goes reality. No longer are you a part of the Clerks II universe which seems so very real... you are torn from their world with such violence that the moment is destroyed. And I just don't get it. Why? What purpose does it serve? I've forgotten all about Dante and Becky during a pivotal scene in the film and am all of a sudden watching people dance? It's almost tragic how horribly this nonsensical moment puts the brakes on an otherwise great film. Where was Scott Mosier when this travesty of a scene was edited into the movie?

Sadly, if it weren't for this really bad decision, Clerks II would easily slide right up next to Clerks and Chasing Amy on the Kevin Smith scale of greatness. As it is, it ends up somewhere in the middle. I want very badly for the DVD to come out so I can buy it, rip it, then re-edit it into the brilliant film it could have been.

Anyway, focusing on the positive now...

Clerks II opens with Dante and Randal still working their menial job as clerks at the Quick Stop. But when the store burns down, everything is thrown into chaos and they must start a new life working an even worse job at the McDonald's-inspired Mooby's restaurant. A year later, it's Dante's last day before packing up and moving to Florida with his fiance, but Randal (of course) has other plans...

Clerks 2

The dialogue is, as always, note-perfect. Randal's tirades are among my favorite moments in movie history, and we are treated to some hilarious new material as only he can deliver it. The wordplay between Dante and Randal is as sharp as it's ever been, and is worth the price of admission alone.

Rosario Dawson, who is an incredibly talented actress, slides effortlessly into the world of Clerks and looks frickin' amazing while doing it. Her very presence elevates the movie to another level entirely, and adds substance to scenes that could have otherwise gone very wrong.

But my favorite moments of the film (besides the "inter-species erotica," of course) are served up by Trevor Fehrman. His almost painful level of naivety as the Lord of the Rings-and-Transformers-loving geek Elias, come very close to stealing the show. His reactions to the ever-increasing insanity that's forever following Dante and Randal around offers up a fresh perspective on the story that wouldn't be nearly as entertaining without it.

After all is said and done, it's a highly entertaining film with only a few mistakes keeping it from greatness. I can only hope that this is not the last we'll be seeing of these characters, as the movie ends on a note that only leaves you wanting more.

Much like Clerks did over a decade ago.

Categories: Movies 2006Click To It: Permalink


  1. ms. sizzle says:

    I skipped over parts of this post because I really want to go see the movie and hate to know what is going to happen before I do. I’ll come back and read it in its entirety after I see the flick. Because of course I am going to see it- it’s Kevin Smith! And hello! Rosario Dawson is a slice of eye candy pie. Yum. 🙂

  2. Avitable says:

    Cool. I consider the order of favorites to be:

    Chasing Amy
    Jay & Silent Bob

    So I think I might enjoy those few things that distracted you. Chasing Amy always felt like a movie that couldn’t figure out where it was going, and as a result, I’ve never made it through a screening without dozing off at least one point throughout the film.

  3. James says:

    I work at a movie theater (have I said that before?) and we only had about 6 people in the main seven o’clock showing, with maybe 30 people for the whole day. It didn’t seem to be a hit at all…

    But if the great Dave likes it, I must see…must see…must

  4. Dave2 says:

    Ms. Sizzle… No doubt! Dawson was brutally hot in Sin City, and is pretty choice in this film as well (albeit in a bit more subdued manner).

    Avitable… Mine go Clerks, Chasing Amy, Clerks II, Clerks The Animated Series, Dogma, Mallrats, Jay & Silent Bob, Jersey Girl. I loved Chasing Amy, and think it showcases the absolute best balance in a Kevin Smith film. I wanted so badly to like Mallrats, but the unreality elements and slapsticky crap bog it down. At least in Dogma the unreality was planned, so it’s a little easier to take. Overall, I like all the movies except Jersey Girl, which was boring as hell DESPITE the fact that Liv Tyler was in it. Ben Affleck was fine in Bounce but flounders totally in Jersey Girl (which was a big part of the problem).

    James… The movie is definitely NOT for everybody. The bestiality alone will freak most people out beyond their ability to be entertained. It’s more a movie made explicitly for hardcore Kevin Smith fans, and that’s not a huge section of the populace. When I saw it at the first showing of the first day (1:05pm), there were only nine people in the entire theater, and nobody in line for the second showing. Sad, but to be expected I guess?

  5. mrjerz says:

    I can’t believe I’ve actually seen all of his movies. I like Chasing Amy, but it was a bit neurotic. Not Clerks neurotic, but actually crazy, I wanted to slap that guy neurotic. Mallrats might have been the best performance in the career of Ben Affleck. Dogma and Jay & Silent Bob were just sort of all-star get togethers. Clerks was the funniest by far because the funny seemed so real. I’ll see this one, and I don’t see too many movies these ays not by Pixar or cartooons. Is that Rosario Dawson on the poster?

  6. Mocha says:

    I would have sat around and waited for it to come out on DVD, but you mentioned in your comment to James that there is bestiality.

    Why didn’t you say that in the first place???

    When is the earliest showing of it today?

  7. Dave2 says:

    Mr. Jerz… But doesn’t everybody want to slap Ben Affleck? He’s married to Jennifer Garner! And yes, that is indeed the sweet Rosario Dawson in the poster.

    Mocha… The “inter-species erotica” is a funny scene, but goes waaayyyy too far for most tastes. Just ask Joel Siegel.

  8. Pauly D says:

    Yes, but is it better than Lady in the Water?

  9. Dave2 says:

    After Signs and The Village, I stopped blindly showing up at the theater just because Shyamalan has a new movie out. Like most everything else, I never go see a movie in the theater that I am uncertain about unless it has a Tomatometer reading of 50% or higher. Since Lady in the Water is at an abysmal 21%, and critics I respect are panning it, I’ll wait for the DVD. 🙂

  10. Laurence says:

    You know what ? Clerks and Clerks 2 were shown on Festival de Cannes. Clerks were not shown on theater and DVD were “zone 1”. (France is “zone 2” !) We do not talk of projecting Clerks 2 in France.
    I am just wondering what are we doing in France ? Or rather, what am I doing in France ???

  11. Thanks for the review on Clerks 2. I heard Dawson saying the musical number was an homage to Bollywood. But I totally see your point about reality.

    It’s too bad people aren’t going to LADY…not because of the film but because of THE FOUNTAIN trailer which precedes it. But you can find it online here.

    Enjoy everyone!

  12. Belinda says:

    Cool–I’ve been waiting to hear your take on this movie. Thanks. I absolutely hate “Chasing Amy,” though. Maybe it’s because that actress, who is from here, has the most annoying voice I’ve ever heard, and I just couldn’t get past it.

  13. SJ says:

    I’ve been hesitant to see this movie because Clerks is so dear to me, I didn’t want to sully my memories of it should the sequel suck. And I’m still unsure.

    If you are a Rosario Dawson fan, you really must see The First $20 Million. An utterly charming film, and Dawson is eye-popping in the cutest date dress EVER. Plus, ETHAN SUPLEE!!! And, ENRICO COLANTONI!!!

  14. ms. sizzle says:

    ok. i went and saw it and came back to read the entire post. i liked the movie a lot and agree with your editing assessment. but the dialogue was great and elias did practically steal the show. 🙂

  15. chrsblck says:

    sigh. ive seen clerks at least 50 times. and the sequal was a perfect bookend to the first. UNLIKE most of you, i felt the musical number was TERRIFIC. maybe ms dawson had plenty to do with it, but it did not take me out of the moment.
    also randal’s impersonation of the lord of the rings trilogy was SPOT ON!

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