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Clerks II (DVD)

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Caffeinated Clint
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Clint is the creator, editor and maintainer of Moviehole.

In a recent interview regarding ‘Clerks II’, director Kevin Smith said: “I was afraid people wouldn’t like it and then they would retroactively hate our first one.” Many fans have had similar concerns ever since the sequel to the cult 1994 hit was announced. For many Gen-Xers ‘Clerk’s was *the* defining film of their youth, a clever satire on the slacker generation and that also managed to be shamefully juvenile and utterly hilarious. ‘Clerks’ was a film their parents would never really understand and that was what made it so great.


Brian O’Halloran, Jeff Anderson, Rosario Dawson, Jason Mewes, Trevor Fehrman

In a recent interview regarding ‘Clerks II’, director Kevin Smith said: “I was afraid people wouldn’t like it and then they would retroactively hate our first one.”

Many fans have had similar concerns ever since the sequel to the cult 1994 hit was announced. For many Gen-Xers ‘Clerk’s was *the* defining film of their youth, a clever satire on the slacker generation and that also managed to be shamefully juvenile and utterly hilarious. ‘Clerks’ was a film their parents would never really understand and that was what made it so great.

So why bring out a sequel? What could it possibly do except sully the legend by failing to live up to it?

Well, perhaps those hand-wringers should have given Kevin Smith more credit. Fair enough, his films had showed a steady decline before bottoming out with the mainstream ‘Jersey Girl’, but he still knew how to make a movie. And he was never going to mess with the ‘Clerks’ legacy unless he was absolutely sure of doing well.

The sequel kicks off (as most fans will know from the trailer) with Dante and Randal’s beloved Quik Stop going up in flames. Their livelihood, and their lives as they know them, go up with it. With no qualifications and no prospects, they both take jobs at a local fast food joint called Mooby’s.

However, a change in vocation isn’t the only upheaval in their lives. Dante has become engaged to rich blonde hottie Emma (Jennifer Schwalbach Smith, Kevin Smith’s wife!) and he plans to move away from Jersey with her to start a new life … in a house her parents are buying for them. But as the day of the move draws near, Dante starts to have second thoughts. For one thing, he and his Mooby’s boss (Rosario Dawson, looking so tasty it’s criminal) have had a secret fling and she seems to understand him better than his bride-to-be. And for another, it’s tearing his heart out to leave Randal behind. Jersey and its crazy characters – yes including Jay and Silent Bob – are part of his life. But he’s an adult now and being an adult means choosing the right thing instead of the fun thing. Doesn’t it?

Instead of just trying to recreate the first film in a different form, Smith has allowed his characters to age along with the audience. For this reason, Dante and Randal are just as resonant with Gen-X viewers as they were 12 years ago. Men in their 30s are feeling the pressure, more than any generation before them, to grow up – and yet they’re also the most resistant to it. They’re seeing their traditional circles of friends being pulled apart by the necessities of marriage and kids and they’re not dealing with it very well. And that’s exactly what Dante and Randal embody in this second chapter of ‘Clerks’. Can you grow up and still be the same person? And just what is the definition of being an adult anyway?

Of course, because it’s a Kevin Smith film there is a donkey-fucking scene, a heap of pop culture references and endless dialogue on childish, pointless topics (the Lord of the Rings vs Star Wars standoff is a fantastic addition to ‘Clerks’ lore). The ‘porch monkey’ scene was a personal highlight.

Fear not reluctant thirty-somethings – if you loved the original ‘Clerks’, you won’t be disappointed with ‘Clerks II’.

Smith definitely knows how to put together a great DVD too – on Disc 2, you’ll find one of the best documentaries ever; chronicling the lengthy making-of period for the film (What’s great about Smith is that he’s as frank as hell, as he informs the audience how the movie came about). There are also a few deleted scenes, three commentary tracks and a shorter featurette on the making of the film.

Rating :
Reviewer : Mark Bennett

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