Saturday, July 22, 2006

Clerks 2

It makes me feel a little dirty picking on Kevin Smith even the tiniest bit.

I mean, we've been through so much together. I stuck with him through "Mallrats," which, unlike almost everyone else in the world, I just loved. Heck, I even thought there were some good things about "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back."

So, before I even begin to quibble with "Clerks 2," I feed dutybound to say that it got many, many things right. First and foremost, like its predecessor, it's at its funniest when it's at its foulest. I can't mention all the great lines because many of them are too blue for this blog which is linked from a family newspaper, but believe me, you'll be laughing and squirming at the same time as newcomer clerk Elias tells Randal about his lady friend's "pussy troll." It's classic Kevin Smith, and it's very, very funny.

And the banter between our lead clerks, Brian O'Halloran's Dante and Jeff Anderson's Randal, is still fairly fresh, even if "Transformers" (which, by the way, is just going to suck!) and "Lord of the Rings" have joined "Star Wars" as the focal points of their world. Randal's defense of the term "porch monkey," as Wanda Sykes and the comedian Earthquake are trying to order, is the funniest thing I've seen on screen this year, and Randal's "Porch Monkey 4 Life" movement had me laughing so hard the person behind me must have been tempted to kick me in the back of the head.

Rosario Dawson, who until now I've always just thought of as an extremely pretty face, deserves special mention also. This is the first time I've seen her actually both having fun and really acting on screen. Her Mooby's manager is funny and frustrated, and she really shines in this one.

So, what's wrong with "Clerks II"? Well, for me at least, the third act was almost a disaster. I'm not talking about the "interspecies eroticism," about which you can draw your own conclusion, but what came afterward.

For the fifteen minutes or so that our heroes are locked in prison, they confront each other with the kind of dialogue I would expect to hear on an afternoon soap. It's sappy and silly, and it almost ruins the vibe. Dante and Randal work because, along with being very funny, they are very real people who talk like real people. But this scene just shattered that for me.

But after that it all wraps up neatly (though you won't hear how from me.)

There hasn't been a movie I've looked forward to more this summer than this one, and overall it lived right up those very lofty expectations.

I don't care what Joel Siegel (who walked out of Clerks II in a fit to draw attention to his own fledgling career) or any other highminded critics have to say about Kevin Smith. He makes me laugh out loud, and that will always be good enough for me.


J.D. said...

Transformers is NOT going to suck. I refuse to believe it.

ET said...

Clerks II is a great movie. The only problem is that it has to compete with the first Clerks.
The only terrible movie I can think of off hand that Kevin Smith made is "Jersey Girl".
In all the rest he has his characters get profound with universal thoughts, using gutter language with some very bizarre moments.
Out of curiosity, I bought a couple of Jay and Silent Bob comic books written by Kevin... in my opinion he does a better job in delivering his message on the screen.

carrie_lofty said...

J.D.'s right. It's not gonna suck (any worse than the 80s animated film) - unless the screenwriters manage to screw up such promising CGI.

Reel Fanatic said...

I hope you're both right, j.d. and Salome, but I still have serious doubts ... Jersey Girl is still the only Smith movie I haven't seen, et ... I don't know one single person who liked it, so I think I'll continue to stay away

1031 said...

The problem with Jersey Girl is that is simply doesn't feel like a Kevin Smith flick. It's like one of those cheesy romantic comedies from the '90s starring Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks. It's not especially bad, per se, it's just not very original. And it lacks the trademark Kevin Smith humor (and writing in general) that we've all come to know and love.

That being said, Clerks II absolutely redeems Smith in my book (not that he actually needed redeeming. His previous films built up enough credit with me to withstand Jersey Girl). It's easily one of the best films I've seen this year.

And sure, maybe the prison scene was a bit soapy (minds out of the gutter!), but these guys have been through so much together, these best friends...I dunno. I nearly shed a tear, that's all I'll say.

Reel Fanatic said...

I can understand that, 1031, and like I said, it certainly didn't ruin this otherwise great movie for me

Linda said...

Clerks II is the most fun I've had at the movies this summer. Agree with you on the third act, all kinds of weak moments there. I had laughed so much to that point, it didn't seem to matter. I think I am the only person on the planet that liked Jersey Girl, could be my love for Smith's writing.

Rakhee Mary William said...

hey there! saw that you stopped by my blog. here i am,checking out yours as well. pretty good stuff you got here. anyways, yeah i was disappointed with four weddings and a funeral. maybe it's a good thing i took all these years to finally watch it so that i would know exactly how pathetic it was.

cyen said...

I too thank you for leaving a comment on my blog. I think from what I've read on your blog you would like Scanner Darkly. Def rent this. I'm still thinking about this movie 24 hours later - that's the sign of a good movie.
I plan on seeing Clerks 2 in about 2 weeks (if it's still in theatre). I was one of the lucky one's who got to see the original Clerks in the theatre when it came out (what... 10 or 12 years ago!?) Thanks for the review.

Mercurie said...

I haven't seen Clerks II yet, but I have loved every other Kevin Smith movie, even Mallrats. The only one I really didn't like was Jersey Girl, which I don't even think of as a Kevin Smith movie!

I think part of the problem with Smith and the critics is that I think his movies are best appreciated by Generation X and then best if you are into comic books, sci-fi movies, and so on. This explains why a critic like Joel Siegel would walk out of Clerks II. Indeed, as a case in point, the only Kevin Smith movie my sister (who is 17 years older than me and hence technically a baby boomer) ever liked was Jersey Girl!

Reel Fanatic said...

I think you're right, Mercurie, but along with being a comic-book lover, you also have to have a good sense of humor and, well, common sense, neither of which Mr. Siegel apparently possesses .. he should be fired immediately

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Chalupa said...

I saw Clerks II opening weekend and loved it as well. I've been a big Kevin Smith fan from way back and wasn't dissapointed with his latest installment.

I was definitely shocked a little, I think bits in the middle got a bit slow, but I liked the end. I agree that the dialogue was a bit cheesy, but I really liked the outcome.