NO SPOILER ALERT. You can read this review and still blissfully know nothing.
I loved the original CLERKS. CHASING AMY is one of my favorite movies of all time. And I don’t care what the critics say, I thought MALLRATS was a fun flick. Kevin Smith is “the man”. So I was so excited to see CLERKS 2 I braved getting lost and drove fifteen miles searching for some sticky floored Cineplex in Moodus or Old Lyme (actual home of Lyme Disease) or one of those Connecticut towns nearby.
I didn’t love it. And it’s been bugging me ever since.
There were a lot of funny runs, it built to a well structured block comedy scene, there were a few lovely character moments, even a pearl of vintage Kevin Smith twisted wisdom here and there. So why was I disappointed?
The raunchy humor? No, I laughed at a lot of that.
I think the ultimate answer is this: It’s one thing to see goofball foul mouthed sex crazed slackers at 18, but if they’re still doing that shit after 30 it’s just plain sad. They ARE losers. Yes, I know there are a gazillion of these townies in real life who are stuck in this predicament but it’s not fun to watch.
The same would be true of Romy & Michele. I adored ROMY & MICHELE’S HIGH SCHOOL REUNION but would you really want to see those girls acting like that at 40? (We’ll know first hand when the clock catches up with Jessica Simpson.) When ABC came to R&M writer/creator Robin Schiff to do a sequel she wisely chose to do a prequel instead.
Age appropriateness (if there is such a term) is a common problem in comedy, where laughs are so character specific. One reason why I think it was time for CHEERS to go was that Sam Malone’s adolescent tom catting was starting to get real icky. The Fonz in middle age would not be a pretty sight.
Some comic personas age well. Jack Benny’s miser character was timeless. But Bob Hope putting on a Beatles wig and chasing Ann Jillian around at 60 was pathetic. And if Woody Allen thinks that even for one nanosecond we buy that Tea Leoni could be his ex-wife then it’s time for the Woodman to move to that gated Leisure World community in West Palm Beach, Florida.
I still believe in Kevin Smith. His last few movies have missed the mark but there’s that potential for greatness. You see glimmers of it even in his duds (well, maybe not JERSEY GIRL, that was just plain awful). All I ask is that he learns from Dante and Randall and moves on himself.