5 June 2006 | Bladerunnerrr
CLERKS II - A great conclusion to the NJ saga!
This movie was everything I hoped it would be. It is especially (or maybe even primarily) for fans of Kevin Smith's "ViewAskewniverse". (And yes, it's in color...mostly.) Also, there was no subtitle...it was titled simply "CLERKS II"...no "the second coming" or "the passion of the CLERKS".
I don't want to hit any spoilers this soon before the movie comes out, but the general idea is that it is a "coming of age" story for the Gen X slackers, who finally in their 30s find themselves not having advanced very far in life, careers, personally or even in general (this is primarily Dante's role, anyway). He decides (due to some things beyond his control) to FINALLY move on, "grow up", get married and leave Leonardo New Jersey and its band of bad influences behind.
Randall, of course, is not so keen at his only friend leaving NJ, is perfectly happy living with his parents and doing as little as possible, and a good part of the movie is spent on Randall challenging Dante's decision and exploration of their friendship.
Now, this may sound like some kind of melodrama, BUT IT ISN'T!!! That basic story is weaved between the plot devices, smart dialogue and gritty or "pushing the limits" humor we come to expect from Kevin Smith.
There's Jay and Silent Bob of course, who have a mini-character arc/growth experience themselves, Jason Lee in with an all new character for one short scene (I think this is his 5th new character in Kevin's ViewAskew franchise), and Ben Affleck with a mercifully brief (one or two line) cameo. Jay and Bob's antics are always a great break from the other action, never an intrusion, even when they are TRYING to intrude, by making asses of themselves (literally) in the background of the primary action.
Plus, a couple of new characters, a crew member at Mooby's (a McDonald's type fast food joint) named Elias who is a very religious, naive counterpoint to Randall's ruthless and jaded personality, and therefore the butt of many jokes/gags. His and Randall's comments regarding "Lords of the Ring" vs "Star Wars" are priceless and vintage Kevin Smith.
Another new character, "Becky", is played by Rosario Dawson, who is the manager at the same restaurant. She plays the part of the good female friend who depends on Dante and challenges Dante to consider if he really wants to settle for a girl who is merely tolerable.
As with the first "CLERKS", this movie pushes the limit of what can be put on film and actually get released in theaters. I hope the more controversial parts make the final cut because I think the shock value that makes you say "NO THEY DIDN'T!" is a valuable part of the equation and expected from this film franchise. Without giving anything away, there are particularly two of the films ongoing jokes, one having to do with bestiality, the other in which some very NON-PC racial terms are used, REPEATEDLY, including the "N-word". No one else has the guts to address these issues and make them funny. 'Cept Kevin Smith.
Finally, the movie really does have a story without being preachy, we're treated to known characters without it being a nostalgia-fest (for instance, Jay and Bob are in their signature places in front of the Quick Stop, but Jay utters not once "Snootchie Bootchies"...but not to fear, he finds a NEW way to crack us up...Bob's discovered a way to keep Jay's mind off of drugs. Fans of Jay will NOT be disappointed.)And the movie goes through an interesting story arc, with surprises and twists resulting in a satisfying ending.
I'm concerned that the more risqué scenes might have to be neutered for ratings' purposes; hopefully not. If so, they will be on the DVD for sure. I can say that even in very conservative KC, the audience laughed A lot, no one walked out during the most "offensive" part, and everyone seemed to really enjoy the edgy wit, smart dialogue as well as the bathroom humor that kept the film at a fun pace.
*EDIT-I've since read that 3 people walked out, which isn't bad from an audience of nearly 500 and with a movie this edgy. I guess I was enjoying myself too much to notice the walkouts!
The movie is also more realistic than some of the other View Askew movies; more like Clerks, obviously. None of the comic book type stunts like in "Mallrats" (Silent Bob's batman utility belt and flying around with a cape) or "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back" (with the fake lightsaber scenes and flying on the bicycle through a wall and not getting hurt) or all the special effects,mythology and divine interventions of "Dogma" (Alanis Morisette as God appearing at the end to save the world). There are no scenes to groan at and think "ah, right, like that could happen". These characters are real, and real things happen to them, no special abilities, creatures from the underworld or new age messiahs. Just real people that many of us can relate to.
In closing...don't take your grandmother to this movie. It is full of obscene language, profane concepts, drug references, "unnatural" sexual references, etc. Unless you know your girlfriend is hip and not easily offended, test her with a DVD of "CLERKS" first to see if she "gets" the humor.
Otherwise, get a gang of friends, go to this movie and get ready to laugh your freakin' BUTT off!