Monday, July 24, 2006


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.


Anonymous said...

>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.

LOL and agreed! But to know his real-life situation almost makes you think anything is possible!

-dan kelley

Anonymous said...

I never liked that kind of comedy. I do like comedy. One of my favorite TV shows that I watch occasionally is "My name is Earl" that show makes me laugh.

Beth Ciotta said...

“…twisted Kevin Smith wisdom…” That’s the thing that intrigues me about his films. That, and the rhythm of his writing. I wasn’t sure why I was so enamored with CHASING AMY until I read it in screenplay form. The rhythm. It’s in all of his work along with the “twisted wisdom”. I’ve read some reviews of CLERKS 2 and I’m sure I’ll blush and gasp through 90% of it as I have with all the Kevin Smith films I’ve seen (missed JERSEY GIRL), but I’m still planning on seeing it. No doubt I’ll walk away with the same feeling as you because I do get ‘age appropriate’. Still, as you said, he’s "the man".

wcdixon said...

hmmmm...I quite liked Clerks II and its real life lunacy, and bought into the clerks 'growing up' as it were - but I never really thought of them as 'losers' until reading what you said - and there's some truth to that...though I didn't get sense the boys/men were being portrayed as younger than they were...nevertheless, now I'm hmmmming...

Eric said...

I think Smith agrees with you. One of the reasons he made Clerks 2 was that he promised to Jay Mewes that if he could stay clean for a year, he'd do another movie with Jay and Silent Bob.

Anonymous said...

There's much truth in what you write about age appropriateness in comedy. A late episode of The Golden Girls had 50-ish Blanche (Rue McClanahan) thrilled over the arrival of college spring break in Miami and eagerly making plans to buy new tee shirts for the wet tee shirt contests. I know one of the series' goals was to make it clear that sexuality doesn't end at forty, but...ewwwwwwwww!

Anonymous said...

>>But Bob Hope putting on a Beatles wig and chasing Ann Jillian around at 60 was pathetic.

Was that when Bob or Ann was 60?

Sadly, with Bob gone, how can Ann find a job?

doggans said...

(Now that I've finally gotten around to seeing the film...)

//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.//

To me, that seemed to be the entire point of the film. They're starting to realize that the best years of their lives have already passed, and they were stuck behind a counter. I can understand how one would find their antics no longer amusing, but I think, given the nature of the story, it worked.

//All I ask is that he learns from Dante and Randall and moves on himself.//

I, too, hope he moves on to projects outside of the "Askewniverse". Not because I'm sick of the characters, but because I felt that this was a fitting, full-circle conclusion to the saga. (And a much more worthy ending than the amusing but far-from-great "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back".)

Anonymous said...

Regarding Marti's comments about "The Golden Girls." In a sense, that bit about Blanche and the wet t-shirt contests works in that it's consistent with Blanche's character: she excels at deluding herself that she's still young, despite being in her 50s. At the same time, though, it does reflect the show's tendency to go over the top in its later years. It was fine that Rose, in the beginning, had a childlike sensibility about her, but by the last season or so, when they had her talking about being under her bed, playing with her dolls, it was just too much. That show's equivalent of the overwriting Ken talks about.

Seun Osewa said...

What's wrong with Jersey girl? The actors are good, the kid was funny, and the story was entertaining. They even threw in Will Smith for good measure. Nice, tame entertainment it was.