Clerks II (2006)
Clerks II (2006)

Genre: Comedy Running Time: 1 hr. 38 min.

Release Date: July 21st, 2006 MPAA Rating: R

Director: Kevin Smith Actors: Brian O’Halloran, Jeff Anderson, Rosario Dawson, Jason Mewes, Kevin Smith, Jennifer Schwalbach, Trevor Fehrman, Jason Lee, Wanda Sykes

 


 

“I

left the coffee pot on again, didn’t I?” Quick Stop Groceries in New Jersey burns to the ground in front of head employee Dante Hicks (Brian O’Halloran), who has apparently been working there most of his adult life so far, alongside fellow clerk Randal Graves (Jeff Anderson). Their considerable lack of accomplishments – or, rather, their inability to progress (or perhaps their utter disinterest in moving up corporate ladders) – finds them in the same town, hanging out with the same people, and doing the same routines over and over.

Now that their place of longtime work is gone, they both opt to transition into fast food, flipping burgers at the nearby Mooby’s joint. Even the regular boom-box-toting, drug-dealing duo Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Kevin Smith) move to the side of the building to begin anew with their off-color commentary on aliens and Jesus alike, while selling weed to an assortment of clientele. Dante’s life isn’t 100% the same, however, as he now has a fiancee – the overenthusiastic and overbearing Emma Bunting (Jennifer Schwalbach), whose parents hope to transform their successes by gifting a house and a business after they move to Florida together. But in the meantime, Dante and Randal wile away their days at the franchise poking fun at nerdy worker Elias (Trevor Fehrman), chatting with boss Becky (Rosario Dawson), and discussing the differences between popular movie trilogies.

Once again, this sequel relies heavily on dialogue; the setting is of little importance, merely serving as a backdrop for all manner of contentious, controversial, and crude conversations, almost all of which segue into sexual themes. Despite light slapstick, musical interludes, recognizable cameos, and a trace of a love triangle (unconvincing as it may be), the majority of the picture dwells on boorish exchanges that devolve into over-the-top arguments about taboo or edgy material. Hints at regret, the futility of modest changes, living up to societal expectations, and friendships in limbo simply can’t overcome the dominance of obscenities.

That unambiguous focus wouldn’t normally be a problem, except that the script struggles to remain consistently funny. Numerous sequences fall incredibly flat. Like so many passion projects from filmmakers without much oversight, it often feels as if the cast is having more fun shooting the picture than audiences could possibly have while watching it – an irony considering that writer/director Kevin Smith has spoken extensively about how much fun he had making the film. Even the overabundance of references to the previous theatrical entries in Smith’s universe (plus individual entities within them), as well as movies in general (largely details about “Star Wars,” as before), can’t save “Clerks II” from spells of blandness – a feat for its relatively brief running time. At least the finale is excessively outrageous. But the continual sense of repetition that can’t quite duplicate the cleverness of the 1994 original makes this endeavor appear altogether unnecessary.

– Mike Massie

  • 4/10