Friday, August 04, 2006

Clerks II

Title: Clerks II (2006)
Dir: Kevin Smith
Rating: ***1/2 out of 5 stars

I'll address the big question right away: Is Clerks II better than its predecessor?

No. Hell no. But it is very funny and brings back your favorite characters in a new way.

After the Quik Stop burns down, Randal and Dante (Jeff Anderson, Brian O'Halloran) work at fast-food joint, Mooby's (previously seen in Kevin Smith films). While Randal endlessly torments his young co-worker Elias (Trevor Fehrman), Dante carries a torch for store manager Becky (Rosario Dawson). And of course, Jay and Silent Bob continue to loiter outside the store.

Whereas the humor of Clerks was more subtle and clever, this sequel aims for shocking and offensive but albeit laugh-out-loud jokes. It is a lot more mainstream than the first film - both in humor and in plotline - but that doesn't mean Smith is scared to push the envelope. Frankly, I'm amazed the studio and the MPAA let him get away with as much as he did.

Clerks II has some moments that made me laugh so hard it hurt. Honestly, I don't think the first film ever did that, although it was a superior film all-around. So the sequel is quite different. To use an obligatory review cliche: This film aims for the jugular and doesn't let go!

Seriously, it's damn funny. Randal is just as hilarious and outrageous - if not more so - than before. He steals the movie, hands-down. Dante is the same likable every-man as before. Dawson, in the role of Becky, is very cute and surprisingly cool, like one of the boys. The scene-stealing newcomer of the film is Fehrman who, together with Anderson, had my side hurting from laughing so hard.

The downside to the film is its mainstream feel, with feeble attempts at relationship advice. The movie also goes a little TOO far at times - I didn't feel offended, just tired by the film's constant attempts to shock me instead of make me laugh. But overall, it's a good time, as long as you can stomach EXPLICIT sex talk and racial slurs. Kevin Smith fans won't be disappointed.