Greetings and Salutations, movie-goers! This is Michael Wyatt, your thirty-something and barely-employed movie critic. Would you like fries with your review?
Before I go much further, I should probably describe my status as a Kevin Smith fan… which is to say, I am really not one. Don’t get me wrong, I like the guy! I love the comic book references, he pretty much rants on the same things that I rant about, and he brought witty dialogue back to American cinema in much the same way Joss Whedon brought it back to American television. I have seen the first Clerks a couple of times, but once was enough for me. I have seen each of the other movies at least once, and I have seen Dogma several times.
Actually, Dogma is one of my absolute favorite movies, so I have to give that to Kevin Smith. I have even read the comics that fill in the timeline between movies… but only because they were a present from my little brother one Christmas. I didn’t want you to read this review thinking it came from another star-struck fan-boy Smithophile or another bitter anti-Kevin Smithophobe. I am steadfast in fence riding on the topic of Kevin Smith. I wasn’t able to watch the cartoons. They just weren’t funny to me. A true Kevin Smith fan could quote those as well as the classic Clerks. So, with that out of the way, let’s get on with the review, shall we?
Yet again, we’re looking at a sequel here. This is the sequel that Kevin Smith almost didn’t make. Every other movie Kevin directed was kinda-sorta a sequel to Clerks with character cameos, cross-references, in-jokes and plot arcs that spanned across movies. Well, every other movie except the underwear skid mark Jersey Girl. (I haven’t seen Jersey Girl. I didn’t have to… I saw the movie trailer for it. That was enough.) You probably know at least one person that is such a big Kevin Smith fan that they know each and every inside joke and reference in each movie, possibly even Jersey Girl! I’ll admit, it can be fun to find them, but you can save yourself some time and look them up on IMDb.com.
In the title of the first movie, the logo was made of the letters from magazine titles and candy bar wrappers. In the title for this movie, the logo is made of the letters from fast food restaurant names and products. This is a very subtle clue that the boys from the first movie are moving from behind the usual counter at the convenience store and video rental to the other side of another familiar counter, the fast food restaurant. In an obvious nod to the dead-end McJob, Dante and Randal (Brian O’Halloran and Jeff Anderson) have made nothing more than a lateral move from sad losers to pathetic losers. Over a decade has passed, and the only real difference is that now they have coworkers to torture along with the usual annoying customers.
There were several laugh-out-loud moments in Clerks II! You may not be proud of yourself for laughing at Jay (Jason Mewes) doing his impersonation of Buffalo Bill’s penis-tuck from Silence of the Lambs. You may be a bit embarrassed that you laughed as Becky (Rosario Dawson) is completely unable to look away from Kinky Kelly and the Sexy Stud’s interspecies erotica performance. You probably won’t brag to your friends that you completely understood and possibly even agreed with Randal’s brief synopsis of all three Lord of the Rings movies. But you will laugh! You will laugh a lot!
Rosario Dawson was absolutely beautiful, sexy and hilarious! She fits in perfectly with Dante and Randal. And she must be an excellent actress because the potential romance between her character and Dante was actually believable. It was a relief, too. Emma (Jennifer Schwalbach Smith) scared and repulsed me. I don’t get her. My money is on Kevin Smith leaving her for Rosario in the near future. I know I would.
Jay and Silent Bob (Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith) are back in this, too. While their parts are not as pivotal as they were in Dogma and they are not the stars as they were in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, they are still great! You know how Silent Bob always has some great inspiring speech or thought-provoking monologue in almost every film? I hope you knew that. If not, you’ll miss one great little inside joke.
And there are the usual cameos from the previous movies. Both Ben Affleck (Mallrats, Chasing Amy, Dogma, Armageddon, Pearl Harbor, Daredevil)and Jason Lee (Mallrats, Dogma, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Vanilla Sky, The Incredibles) show up for brief bits, and Jason even stays long enough to get a few laughs. Also, true geeks may recognize Kevin Weisman from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Roswell, The X-Files, Charmed or Alias. Finally, comedy fans will recognize Wanda Sykes (Crank Yankers, Over the Hedge) if only by voice.
Okay, Kevin, you are forgiven for Jersey Girl. I, for one, cannot wait to see what happens next in your movie universe. I may actually have to go see this again just to see if I can catch any other inside jokes I may have missed! Clerks II was definitely a fun ride. If you enjoyed Clerks or any of Kevin Smith’s other New Jersey movies, you’ll enjoy Clerks II. But if you can’t handle mature adolescent humor, just stay away. You’ll just ruin for everyone else, unless you make a scene. Then you might actually make it even funnier as everyone teases you! Clerks II is over the top and outrageous in every way that is great and wonderful in perverted humor! Go see it now!
As I do in every movie review, another bit of fair warning to parents. This movie is not suitable for anyone younger than thirty-something. This movie is not suitable for anyone that has ever been described as ‘too uptight.’ Clerks II contains adult language, adult humor, sexual situations, drug references and opinions that most fragile minds cannot handle. Right-wing nut-cases, Christians of all denominations, anyone that hates sex jokes and potty humor, and everyone that has ever found anything objectionable or offensive should be kept as far from this movie as possible!
Michael’s Rating: 7.5/10