Second ‘Clerks’ true to forme
I don’t like sequels. Usually I won’t give them the time of day. But for some reason, it didn’t even occur to me that “Clerks II” was one of them – the oversight likely a result of the interconnectedness of all of Kevin Smith’s films. Smith (who plays Silent Bob to Jason Mewes’ Jay) picks up 10 years from the original black-and-white “Clerks” with a similar storyline and similar rating. (See box for “Clerks II” rating; rating for the original: R for extensive use of extremely explicit sex-related dialogue.)Dante (Brian Christopher O’Halloran) and Randal (Jeff Anderson) have moved from their menial posts at the QuikStop and video store, respectively, to menial posts at Mooby’s – a fast food joint we know to hate from another of Smith’s films, “Dogma.” Still in the New Jersey service industry scene, Randal’s reign of terror on unwitting customers continues, but this time he also has an in-house victim to focus on. Elias (Trevor Fehrman) is their “Lord of the Rings”-loving, virgin teen co-worker who looks up to the 33-year-old clerk and adds a fresh angle to Randal’s crudeness.And while Randal’s got Elias to keep him busy in the film, Dante’s got two women – his fiancee and beautiful boss – to figure out. Again the more responsible of the two slackers is having a life dilemma on which girl is right for him: the one who gets him versus the one he’s not sure he deserves.The sequel is consistent with the original in its crass dialogue and actions and takes it one giant step further (you didn’t think it was possible, did you?) in the second installment. The result of Randal’s access to the internet, while exciting at first in its potential for social mayhem, is enough to make me wonder what keeps me coming back to Smith’s films.Sure, it’s fun to catch the subtle connections between them. And Jay doesn’t disappoint with his unpredictable hilarious behavior. (We’re even treated to a rendition of his nickel-bag song from the original.) And the cameos by Ben Affleck and Jason Lee are enjoyable.But the real draw is in the irreverent humor which dominates the movie. Irreverent to authority and all things normal. Randal tells Dante during a rare moment of poignancy in the movie, “Live your life the way it makes sense to you.” This thread of truth began in the original and never lets up in the sequel.Be wary of a mainstream follow-up to a cult classic, it’s not for the faint of heart.Vail, Colorado
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