Clerks III (2022)
Clerks III (2022)

Genre: Comedy Running Time: 1 hr. 40 min.

Release Date: September 13th, 2022 MPAA Rating: R

Director: Kevin Smith Actors: Brian O’Halloran, Jeff Anderson, Kevin Smith, Jason Mewes, Rosario Dawson, Trevor Fehrman, Austin Zajur, Marilyn Ghigliotti, Justin Long

 


 

Q

uick Stop Groceries still exists. And after all these years, Dante (Brian O’Halloran) is still the head clerk. At least he’s also the owner, alongside his buddy Randal (Jeff Anderson), who mans the register at the adjoining video rental store (which no longer rents videos). And they still play hockey on the roof of the building, while local drug dealers Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Kevin Smith) faithfully loiter out front. “That’s how we did it in the ’90s, son!”

Interestingly, Elias (Trevor Fehrman) is also still an employee, continuing to spout his religious dogma as Randal argumentatively blasphemes in retaliation, embracing foul language and sexual rants. During one such spat, Randal has a heart attack, landing him in the hospital, where he comes face to face with his own mortality. The doctor there suggests vegetables, as well as positive vibes, particularly as middle-aged men tend to suffer bouts of depression after cardiac episodes. Not surprisingly, Randal does indeed start to wonder about his place in life – his lack of accomplishments, his failure to travel outside of New Jersey, his insignificant romantic entanglements, and more. But that introspection inspires him to want to make a movie about himself, immortalizing all of his non-adventures on celluloid – if he ever gets out of the hospital.

Embracing some of the components that were successful back in 1994, the scene designs and editing have reverted back to the way the original film was formatted. Countless shots face the speakers head-on, paired with marginal interruptions (and related graphics), while dialogue-heavy interactions dominate the content. It’s very much more of the same, though now the actors are far too old to believably get away with this kind of behavior – akin to the major problem in “Dumb and Dumber To.” Repetition here doesn’t do enough, unfortunately, mining the same material and milking the same jokes until utter depletion; the verbal jests that didn’t work before still don’t work now (especially 16 years after the second sequel, which itself was mostly throwbacks). And it’s even more pointless when the filmmakers recreate greatest-hits moments from “Clerks” (as well as “Clerks II”), serving unintentionally to remind viewers how much more entertaining it would be to just rewatch the original.

This goes doubly for the rampant Star Wars references (updated, of course, with mentions of “The Mandalorian”), the cameos by Kevin Smith regulars, and all of the returning actors. Once again, as with the previous, terribly unnecessary chapter, the characters here are largely disagreeable and unlikable (and existing in some bizarre pseudo-fictional world where their lives are part of a movie), which ultimately makes their various exploits inconsequential and meaningless – primarily since they’re duplicates from before. If the second picture failed to add anything substantive, this third is completely timeworn and worthless. The cardinal sin, however, is the dearth of quality laughs; “Clerks III” is basically a bore from start to finish.

– Mike Massie

  • 1/10