8 January 2002 | Mr. Pulse
A very strong debut
Fans of Kevin Smith's View Askewniverse know Jeff Anderson as "Randal," the hilariously obnoxious character featured in Clerks and a spinoff cartoon show. With "Now You Know," screening for the first time in near completed form at the Vulgarathon 2002 (If you don't know what I'm talking about, it's not worth the typing to explain), Anderson jumps into the world of writer/directors, and it is a very impressive, successful debut.
Jeremy (Jeremy Sisto) is at his wild bachelor party, but he doesn't have the strength to tell his fellow partygoers that his wedding to Kerri (Rashida Jones) has been called off. The two return home to their separate friends and contemplate their future. Jeremy pals around with two lawn mowers by day, bizarre criminals by night named Gil (Anderson) and Biscuit (Trevor Fehrman); Kerri hangs out with Marty (Heather Paige Kent) who loves to sexually torture Kerri's horny younger brother. The film follows the Jeremy and Kerri struggle to come to terms with their respective issues in very different ways.
The film has some very big laughs; most from the weirdos Gil and Biscuit, who have a bit of the famous Clerks in their poor job performance and smart, witty dialogue. The film drags only when it gets more serious and focuses on its two leads; throughout the film we are left in the dark as to the hows and whys of the lead couple's breakup; an interesting story tactic, but one that doesn't quite work because a lot of times the lead performers don't seem to be all that interested in one another. While the story plays, and the ending is extremely satsifying, I was usually more intrigued with the respective sidekicks' antics (Furniture heists and marrital advice from lesbians, just to name a few) than with the leads. Anderson, in a large role, is very good, and the rest of the supporting cast give outstanding performances. Also, keep a keen eye for cameos from Kevin Smith and wife Jen, plus Liz Sheriden, aka Helen Seinfeld.
Screening the film before he showed it to cast and crew, Anderson's print wasn't completely finished (And there were a few continuity glitches that several vocal audience members harped on), but it was clear that the film has some real potential. It played for big laughs, and, with a little tightening in the slower areas of the movie, could be an outstanding romantic comedy. The entire audience loved the film and was pleasantly surprised, it seemed, at the writing and directing talent they saw. Let's hope we see some more of it in the future.