Clerks 2
You never go ass to mouth.

Theatrical Release Date: 07/21/2006
Director: Kevin Smith
Cast: Brian O’Halloran, Jeff Anderson, Rosario Dawson, Trevor Fehrman, Kevin Smith, Jason Mewes

One more dip into the well. During his college speaking tour, director Kevin Smith said he would not do a sequel to his breakout film, “Clerks”. Now I can call him a liar (but with affection).

When word of “Clerks II” hit the Information Superhighway, I was annoyed to say the least. In the pantheon of Smith films, “Clerks” ranked somewhere in the middle for me and earns more respect for championing independent films than its comedic content.

If my good friends at IMDb are correct, there was one main reason Smith continued to stick to his comfort zone. He made a bet with his heterosexual life-partner, Jason Mewes, that if he could clean up his drug habit, there would be another chance for Jay and Silent Bob to hit the silver screen.

I applaud this commitment to his friend and while I’m still kinda perturbed at a sequel within his New Jersey film series, I can understand it. And if there is one thing I will never begrudge Smith, it is his loyalty to the people who helped him achieve his success.

Saying that, fans of Kevin Smith are, no doubt, far from surprised by the appearance of many familiar faces in “Clerks II”. Aside from the lead roles of Dante (Brian O’Halloran) and Randall (Jeff Anderson), small cameos from Jason Lee, Ben Affleck, Ethan Suplee, Scott Mosier and Walter Flanagan are littered throughout the film. There is also a nice cameo by Wanda Sykes, who makes her Kevin Smith film debut.

Also to no surprise, Smith’s wife and daughter (Jennifer Schwalbach and Harley Quinn Smith) have roles in the film. The creepy part is that he had his own wife play the role of Dante’s fiancée.

It’s just gotta be weird to direct your wife in a make out scene with a good friend of yours. I wonder if that image stays with him when they’re having “alone time”.

Moving on, there are some newcomers to the Smith acting family. Rosario Dawson plays the rival love interest of Dante in the film and the plot centers on which path in life he will pick – the fiancée who can offer financial stability or the woman who could be his soul mate. Dawson’s performance is well done and by casting a good actress, Smith further exposes the faults of his other actors.

Seeing as acting performances are rarely the strong suit of a Kevin Smith film, I can forgive this. I’m there for Jay dancing up a storm, Randall throwing out cynical derogatives about The Lord of the Rings franchise and crude, potty humor.

I still would have liked for Smith to cut down on the touchy-feely scenes in the film, which really bring the whole production to a halt. Part of the problem is that I don’t care. I’m not in the theater seeing “Clerks II” to connect emotionally to the characters. I just want jokes about weed and science fiction.

Still, whenever I was reaching my breaking point with those scenes, Smith manages to come up with some non sequitur to help assuage my irritable nature.

Not to say O’Halloran and Anderson don’t give decent performances (all things considered). However, I doubt anyone will really come out and say, “Now those two are fantastic actors”. And that’s okay.

Though there is an actor that steals this film, and for once, it’s not Jason Mewes. Trevor Fehrman plays the teenage ‘other employee’ and his gawky, pathetic existence is hilarious. Just finding out about “Pillowpants” is enough to get goofy idiots like myself into a near state of urination.

Fehrman consistently stood out as the comedic lighting rod. When the DVD comes out, I hope there’s a section just to jump to all of his scenes. Smith had better keep him in his future films because he found comic gold.

As for the quality of direction in the film, Smith was about even par on this one. There is a complete story within the movie but he could have cut down on the slower emotional scenes to help the pacing.

Also, there is one scene where Randall and Dante are confronting each other where Smith borrows from Michael Bay and spins the camera around them, which is okay once. But he keeps doing it over and over again and I was about to get a little motion sickness.

Still, overall I was entertained by “Clerks II”. I don’t think it will surpass “Mallrats” for its comedic quality but I don’t even mind that I actually paid for this film due to some issues getting passes at the theater I had to see it at, thanks to the late timing in watching it.

I’m giving “Clerks II” a 3 out of 5. The slow points are REALLY slow but the jokes in it are solid and had a big nerd like myself chuckling for most of the film.

If you’re a big Kevin Smith fan, they you probably already saw this. If you were on the fence, feel free to wait for it to reach the top of your NetFlix queue. And if you don’t like his films (and who liked “Jersey Girl” anyway), then missing “Clerks II” won’t cause you to lose much sleep, now will it?