The 1994 indie film Clerks earned filmmaker Kevin Smith major kudos in the film industry. The film featured some of the most memorable characters ever notably that of drug dealing duo Jay and Silent Bob, with Smith playing the latter that would begin Smith’s reign as a bonafide filmmaker. Twelve years later, Smith returns to store clerk territory with this very chaotic filled sequel that goes on the border of hilarity and in one very memorable scene, utter grossness.
Dante Hicks has been working at the Quick Stop Mart for years along with best friend Randal Graves. However, when a fire burns down the Quick Stop, Dante and Randal find new jobs at local fast food restaurant Mooby’s. Months later, Dante is heading out to Florida to get married to girlfriend Emma and it is his last day at Mooby’s.
Things get chaotic from beginning to end. From a debate on Lord of the Rings vs. Star Wars to Jay pulling off the funniest impression of Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs to a musical number of all things, Dante’s day goes from crazy to crazier. Especially when he finds out that a one night stand with Mooby’s manager Becky results in her being pregnant. The kicker of the night? Dante’s bachelor party, which includes what many critics call one of the vilest scenes seen on celluloid. Two words: Interspecies relations. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.
The original Clerks was made on a miniscule budget in 1994 and featured a cast of unknowns talking about everything from work to affairs to everyday life all in a day. Returning from the original are the two central characters, the titular “clerks”, Brian O’Halloran and Jeff Anderson as the mid mannered, wanting to live the dream Dante and the perverted, trash talking but makes a good point guy, Randal. Dante leaving for Florida may seem like a dream, but is it truly the dream he “wants” to pursue? As for Randal, he acts the same way as always, but deep down, there is something missing, or something he will miss. Rather, someone. As if you didn’t know.
The movie also focuses on everyone’s favorite stoners since Cheech and Chong, Jay and Silent Bob. Apparently, they have been in rehab and have been clean for six months, yet they still make money by selling. When Jay gets bored, Bob turns the boombox and out comes “Buffalo Jay” in a hysterical imitation of Buffalo Bill’s very disturbing strip dance in Silence of the Lambs.
Another aspect of the film’s story is that Dante, once again, finds himself in a love triangle. He is engaged to the silver spoon-born Emma yet he seems have a connection for his manager Becky. It was such a strong connection that they had a one-night stand in the restaurant after hours one night. While Becky is worried that her secret will destroy her friendship with Dante, she can’t help but fall in love with the guy. The way Emma treats Dante reminds me of the way Kate Gosselin treated her ex-husband Jon at times. It is as if Emma is in control and Dante really has no say. It may seem wrong to use the Jon and Kate angle as a metaphor, but in some aspect, it is true.
The most interesting supporting character is Elliot, played by Travis Fehrman. He represents the total geek and because of it, he always gets mistreated by Randal. When Elliot gets all giddy over the live action TRANSFORMERS movie, Randal is just disgusted. Then comes the famous “Lord of the Rings vs. Star Wars” debate, which is just insane to watch especially when one hears how Randal wanted LOTR to end. This is all because Elliot meets a customer who is just a LOTR geek as he is.
The musical number is something that wasn’t expected in the film at all. To be honest, it was pure genius for Smith to all of a sudden let that part loose. The set up for the number involves Becky teaching Dante to dance for his upcoming wedding. The song? “ABC” by the Jackson Five. Everyone all of a sudden dances to the song and in one point, Jay and Silent Bob, sporting pigtails, lip synch part of the track before the parking lot is filled with dancers, as if Smith was thinking Thriller or even Shaolin Soccer? It was a pretty funny sequence that helped the film’s pacing.
The film has a few cameos, notably Ben Affleck as a customer who gets disgruntled after Emma arrives and makes out with Dante, who is working the register; Jason Lee as a former schoolmate of Dante and Randal’s who is more successful than them; and Wanda Sykes as a disgruntled customer who blows her lid when Randal says a derogatory term towards African Americans, with the notion that it is not a racist term. (For the respect of all races,that term will not be posted as it is just rude.)
The one scene that the film is perhaps best known for is the very crude and revolting scene that takes place when Randal turns Mooby’s into Dante’s bachelor party. The “interspecies relations” sequence may be the climactic point of the film, as everything is revealed in this scene, yet it was vile enough to even have the late great film critic Joel Siegel walk out while viewing a screening of the film.
While you may as well face it, it is not ever going to be as good as the original indie flick, Clerks II has some defining moments and some very funny looks at the ordinary and despite having a really vile sequence, it is quite a funny film and a fun follow-up to the original 1994 film.
WFG RATING: B
Miramax Films presents a View Askew production. Director: Kevin Smith. Producer: Scott Mosier. Writer: Kevin Smith. Cinematography: David Klein. Editing: Kevin Smith.
Cast: Brian O’Halloran, Jeff Anderson, Jason Mewes, Kevin Smith, Jennifer Schwalbach, Rosario Dawson, Trevor Fehrman, Ethan Suplee, Ben Affleck, Jason Lee, Wanda Sykes, Kevin Weisman, Ethan Suplee, Jake Richardson.