This review has been ‘repurposed’ from my other site, theOneliner.com
It’s actually slightly depressing to see that Clerks 2 has been called into existence. I’ll swear, although in common with most journalists I’m far too lazy to do any of this “fact checking” business, that after the largely successful in-joke abandon of Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back that Kevin Smith said he was finished with the whole “View Askewniverseotron” or whatever the accepted term for it is. One uninspired film that was unjustifiably slammed on the back of the “Bennifer” fiasco later and here we are, back in New Jersey again. Well, not that we left. But you know what I mean, I’ll assume.
Clerks 2 sees us back in front of the Quick Stop with Randal (Mike Pratt) and Hopkirk (Kenneth Cope) again solving crimes in their own inimitable ghost and private eye double act. Hang on, that can’t possibly be right. Let me check my notes. Ah.
Clerks 2 sees us back in front of the Quick Stop with Randal (Jeff Anderson) and Dante (Brian O’Halloran) arriving just in time to see the place go up in smoke. Set a decade and change after the original, the main evolution in the pair’s lives now seems to be the relocation of workplace to Mooby’s, a fast food joint. The usual discussions on life, pop culture, the universe and dead end jobs appear, prompted in large part by Dante’s impending flying of the New Jersey nest with his fiancee, Kevin Smith’s wife.
This perturbs both Dante’s boss and particular friend Becky (Rosario Dawson) and Randall more than either would particularly care to admit, and given that Dante seems far more in love with the idea of the fresh start that marriage into Kevin Smith’s wife’s affluent family will afford him than he is with Kevin Smith’s wife herself you can probably write the third act for yourself.
Now, it wouldn’t be a proper old-skool be-bopping Kevin Smith film without reams of stunningly inessential cameos and bit parts from Kevin Smith’s friends, including Kevin Smith’s wife and Kevin Smith’s self. Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Smith) go through their usual double act, with the laws of diminishing returns being in full effect. Ben Affleck and Jason Lee return with little point to inhabit entirely separate New Jersey based characters to their previous four entirely separate New Jersey based characters, implying that the state perhaps has the world’s lead in cloning technology.
At heart, it’s still about a search for a meaningful life, for gainful employment and, well, everything the first one was about, and as such is as necessary a film as that implies. Of course, the main aim of the film is not to unleash a devastating new worldview upon thee. It merely tries to raise a few chuckles, which it does amiably enough without ever being in danger of tearing the house down. In fact, the writing’s pretty uninspiring, and Anderson and O’Halloran aren’t any more polished than they were ten years ago.
You know, Clerks 2 isn’t really much of anything. There’s even quite a few nasty things that could be said about it, Smith’s scripting never as sharp as in the original, albeit feeling a little more naturalistic than his earlier wordy diatribes. Still, there’s never anything egregious enough to get worked up over and besides, being cruel to Clerks 2 feels rather like kicking a puppy in the face. I imagine. To put it another, less incriminating way, Clerks 2 is rather like meeting an old, once beloved school friend after a long estrangement only to find they’ve settled into a quiet life of accountancy and just aren’t as much fun as they used to be.