One year after the 'Quick Stop' convenience store and 'RSC Video' outlet burnt down, what are unconventional clerks, Dante Hicks and Randal Graves (Brian O' Halloran and Jeff Anderson) up to now? Err - the same old thing I suppose - but this time in a Moobys fast-food restaurant.
For example, they deal with the same old customers in the same old fashion. They’re attitude towards life is exactly same as it was before. Plus on top of that, Jay and Silent Bob (Jason Mews and Kevin Smith) are still loitering around outside too.
However, with the old also comes the new you know. As Jay and Bob are now bible spouting drug-dealers. Whereas Dante and Randal have a new naïve foil to push around, Elias Grover (Trevor Fehrman), and a new boss too, Becky Scott (Rosario Dawson).
Though, I am afraid to say, that with Becky the boss, Dante does start to relive a rather old dilemma.
You see, on the one hand, Dante is currently engaged to be married to his new beau, Emma Bunting (Jennifer Smith), who are both in the process of leaving New Jersey, to start a new life together in Florida. Whilst, on the other hand, Becky and Dante do have very strong feelings for each other – expressed one fateful night on a workstation counter, making Dante feel somewhat confused.
Worst still, is that after a turbulent encounter with an old school friend of his, Lance (Jason Lee), as well as Randal vocalizing racial slurs towards a prospective customer (Wanda Sykes), Dante gets even more confused, when Becky tells him that she is pregnant with his child.
Now can this situation get any more strained? Yes - yes it does. Because Dante does a really stupid thing. No - he doesn't make a song and dance out of the situation. Instead, he tells Randal - who inadvertently relays this back to Becky as soon as he sees her.
Well, that is most probably why what next transpires is a right coming of age tale I can tell you. As lovers and fiances show no fear - a donkey shows really does kick into gear - clerks and drug-dealers come up with an idea - and a new beginning is made upon a promise of a crystal tear.
My God! What a really nice film! It has the same charm and earthiness than its predecessor possesses (click here for 'Clerks' in review), as well as a congenial though-line that is just a wonder to behold. Please note, I'm not only saying this because I am a big fan of the first film – as well as Kevin Smith himself. But from the heart, I do feel that 'Clerks 2' has hit a nerve within me, one that twangs for a life less traveled.
It speaks for all of us out there who have had some sort of chequered history, reinforcing in us that life is what you make of it, and not what it makes of you.
Deep, I know. But that is what this film is at its center – a deep and personal film that speaks to a generation of people who have had a bi-polar existence. Not only that though, but it is also as funny as f*ck as well (f*cking can be funny, especially if you are doing it right).
Granted, although the original cast members are decidedly older in age, that does not diminish the fact that they are all he top of there game. Brian, Jeff, Kevin, Jay, plus their new additions, Rosario, Jen, and Trevor, really making this film something special within the scheme of things. Moreover, Kevin’s script has helped immensely with this to boot. But that is not to say that their acting savvy doesn't bring Kevin’s words to an emotional truth, thus making this View-Askew opus a must see for fans and regular film-goers alike.
Personally speaking, I enjoyed the chemistry between characters the best myself. Randall and Elias - Becky and Dante - Jay and Bob - heck, whenever a pair were on screen together, in many ways it reminded me of Kevin’s man-chemistry of old. HA! Chemistry! What an appropriate word to define this film with! As well as phrases like, ‘porch monkey’, ‘pillow pants’, and ‘ass to mouth’.
Oh! But before I put my foot in either of these latter two sayings, I best tell you some filmic facts first, huh? (1) This was Kevin Smith's first 'real' sequel. (2) The casting in this film did get a bit muddled in places. Matt Damon was supposed to play Lance Dowds. But when he could not turn up to play the part, it was passed onto Jason Lee instead. If Rosario Dawson turned down the role of Becky, Kevin's wife, Jen, would have played this part. Alec Baldwin, who did some of the voice-over work for the 'Clerks cartoon', was supposed to play Randal's Dad at the beginning of the story. Alec did not want to do it though. Jason Mews was only allowed to play Jay in this film, if he stayed off of the drugs - or else Jay and Bob would not have been in this picture at all. (3) Kevin's daughter, Harley Quinn Smith [named after the comic book character], was the little girl who waved out of the window at Dante. (4) Kevin's childhood home can be seen at the beginning of the film, when Dante picks up Randal from his house. (5) Originally, this movie was going to be something completely different. Firstly, it was going to be set on a seaside boardwalk. Secondly, Randal was the character who was going to have the 'love dilemma'. And thirdly, some of the story elements from Kevin's 1994 script called 'Bustling', was going to be adapted into this flick - described as "Clerks in a restaurant". (6) Jay's 'Silence of the Lambs' dance [click here for film review], was something that he does in real life when he's pissed. (7) The word 'f*ck' is said 136 times thought out this movie. (8) The character of Becky was decidedly hard to cast for this film. Originally, Kevin wanted Alanis Morissette for this role, but the studio ploughed through Sarah Silverman, Rachel Weisz, Bryce Dallas Howard, Liv Tyler, and Ellen Pompeo, before they got to Rosario. And (9) Emma's line to Dante, "Face it tiger. You just hit the jackpot", is a Spider-Man reference from 1966, as spoken by Mary Jane Watson when she firsts meets Peter Parker.
All in all 'Clerks 2' is a really smashing film to watch. It's funny. The story is a evolving one. The cast are just great. And it has a donkey in it too. What else can you ask for, huh? A monkey? Hmmm. What do you say to that guys?
Sigh! Must be the drug.
THE RATING: A