Thursday, July 20, 2006

Adam's seen Clerks 2!!!
And...oddly enough, I'm conflicted.
I haven't laughed so hard in a movie in two years (since Team America: World Police, to be exact).
That being said...the story itself is why I'm not so sure I'm willing to suckle Kevin Smith's tremendous cinematic donkey dick this time around. When he tries to pathos and emotion, I'm waiting for a good dick or fart joke to drop.
Clerks 2 is hilfuckinarious when it wants to be. Smith's writing, when he's going for a laugh, is about as sharp as it gets, and with almost nobody in the film except his personal theater company, everyone knows their part like they were born to it.
In some ways, the conflict of the movie is the conflict of Smith's own life. Dante (Brian O'Halloran) is going nowhere in life. He's worked at Mooby's for a year after the Quick Stop burns down. Kevin Smith's film career is treading water, going back to the well that is the View Askewniverse after the train wreck that was JERSEY GIRL. And, when given the opportunity to get the fuck out and actually change his life, Dante's going for the brass ring. He's gonna blow Jersey for the sunny shores of Florida with his girlfriend Emma (Jennifer Schwalbach, Kevin Smith's real-life wife).
Who can blame him? Emma's hot, loves him, and carries with her the promise of a better job (managing one of her dad's car washes) and a house (and an enormous clit).
There's a problem, though. Dante's kinda sorta got it bad for Becky (Rosario Dawson), the sexy manager at Mooby's. The two of them have a great friendship and an easy chemistry.
Now, personally, between the two of them, I'd hit Rosario in a New York minute (the goodies looked damn FINE in Alexander). But, that's me. Dante's gonna have a harder time with it.
Much as Dante gets the story arc, Randall (Jeff Anderson) gets (most of) the laughs. What moments he doesn't shine onscreen are utterly stolen, owned and trademarked by Trevor Fehrman's Elias and Jason Mewes' triumphant return as Jay. Mewes is utterly fucking fearless, and lets it all hang out this time (well, everything except what he has tucked).
Elias, a new addition to the View Askew crew, is the perfect foil to all of this madness. He's a sheltered, barely-there kid with Upright Christian Parents, a yen to revisit Middle Earth and a deep, abiding love for Robots in Disguise. Much as Randall hates the little fanboy, he's part of the crew. Fehrman's performance is so damn perfect, you'd almost think he was a geeky shrinking violet. Thanks to all of Smith's online diaries, I know the opposite is the case.
There are, of course, copious in-jokes and sight gags that will be rediscovered on DVD, and some terrific cameos by View Askew veterans Ethan Suplee, Ben Affleck and Jason Lee. Wanda Sykes and Earthquake have an extended cameo that sells one of the better jokes in the film. And there's a donkey show. But, you'll probably blink and miss that, right?
Smith hammers a few jokes one too many times like the proverbial dead horse, but 99% of the time, he's gold on the yucks. His serious moments, the big emotionally-charged moments...well, those could have been left on the Lifetime network where they belong. However, the ending, much as it gets sappy, is a fitting bookend to the chronicles of Dante and Randall. It may not be the end for our favorite Clerks...but it's almost as good as a ride off into the sunset.

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