Clerks II (2006)
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“Shit, now where am I going to brings girls to fuck?” asks Randall upon witnessing the video store in flames. Gee, how utterly hip, edgy, and hard rock of him to say. Oh Smith, “How doth thou sucketh”, said the lord. Hey, I enjoyed the “Clerks” animated series, but alas that’s as far as my love goes for the “Clerks” franchise extends. The first one was an entertaining albeit mediocre comedy and then movie fans proceeded, and continue to give Smith a continuous hand job in terms of his career that has continued well into his thirties, and “Clerks II” is a listless sequel with the usual cast appearances and pop culture gags that drop like a deflated balloon.

And a man running out of ideas (“Don’t look at his wee wee”? Pfft!). Smith sadly devolves much of the groundwork he laid for “Clerks” and its characters and then, like a game of Jenga, smashes it all down by basically setting them up as typical Hollywood concepts; and he seems to be taking pages from “Garden State”. Dante is now a lovelorn pussy seeking a path in life ala Zach Braff, Randal is the go nowhere loser ala Sarsgaard, Rosario Dawson is basically just another love interest, and Jay and Silent Bob are awfully unnecessary appearing every so often without a thing to do and then take part in a truly lame dues ex machine that makes the ending. And Smith, the ever loving Christian inserts much of his religious views here. Jay and Silent Bob are now born again Christians after rehab, the new character Elias is a Christian, and Dante wears a conspicuous crucifix around his neck throughout the entire film.

We get it, Kevin. Smith’s “edge” is noticeably MIA in his cash-in—er—sequel, and it shows painfully. “Clerks” was supposedly a very independent film that’s lost it all in this ironically mainstream cash-in. Now “Clerks 2” has a story, and a sappy one about Dante’s infatuation with his boss on the eve of his departure to Florida where he plans on marrying his girlfriend Emma. Along the way we’re exposed to many a pop culture debate, three musical montages, and worst of all, Smith turns his indie comedy into a fucking romance comedy. Another romance comedy! I hate romance comedies! I mean, let’s break it down: The love interest, the moment where he realizes he loves her with a far off gaze, his best friend telling him “You love her, admit it!”, the proposal scene that’s both dramatic and funny, and the montage that lets you know “Everything turned out fine”. I’m just thankful we didn’t see pictures of their baby.

What I didn’t take issue with was Randal. Why doesn’t Randal have his own film? I mean sure Dante is the straight man in the duo, but I want Randal to have his own spin-off, because he saves this film. Anderson as Randal saves the film, he steals the film, and he makes this worth watching over and over again. If Smith is any kind of writer, he’ll find something for Randal to have all his own even if it has to be another sequel. Suffice it to say, Smith’s dialogue is great at certain moments when it’s not purposely setting the scene up for a pop culture debate or examination. The moments where our characters are just communing among one another and discussing life make “Clerks 2” a goldmine for observational humor, including a hilarious argument about saying Porch Monkey.

And then there are the golden moments of pure comedy that had me in tears. There’s the “Silence of the Lambs” spoof which was a mixture of disturbing and laugh out loud funny, and the predictable turned hysterical debate of the “Star Wars” versus “Lord of the Rings” with Randal against Ringers, and the delivery is just entertaining and kurt. Smith pins the character dialogue well, and I wish there was more of that here. “Clerks 2” also manages to redeem itself in the second half actually focusing on the relationship between Dante and Randal.

Smith basically kicks his fans in the balls by adhering to Hollywood archetypes and turns his career making film into another cookie cutter romantic comedy that has a happy ending where our hero goes off into the sunset. Oh don’t pretend I ruined anything for you, Smith is completely cliché here. As a sequel to “Garden State” it’s weak, but as a sequel to “Clerks” it’s really weak. I was hoping to love this film, since sequels are basically better than the first film on most occasions, but sadly, it’s a rather weak sequel to a rather weak film. While Randall is pure entertainment, the rest of the film is bland and cliché. And the fan boy hand job continues for ol’ Smith.