January 7th: Service with a Smile

Clerks II (Kevin Smith, 2006)


I approached this film with a deal of apprehension and I think I need to explain why, to give some context my thoughts and ramblings. I started really loving Cinema when I was 15/16, around the time I first bought an issue of the now sadly defunct Neon movie magazine and began spending an unhealthy amount of time in Jack Beanstalk Video in Timperley. I remember very clearly at this time that I read somewhere about Clerks (Kevin Smith, 1994) having been a success on the festival scene in America and getting a video release in the UK. I managed to watch the film on its premier on Sky Movies and I absolutely loved it. I was obviously a bit impressionable but I thought ‘this is it!’ This was the breath of fresh air for my generation of audiences. It was sharp and witty, it had great songs, great characters and things that actually related directly to me. I worked in a cornershop, I smoked myself insanely stoned, I had no idea about what I wanted to do in life and I was definitely having issues with women (how to find them, what to say to them and not make a tit of yourself). So Clerks was largely to blame for my ensuing film obsession. I obsessed over Kevin Smith’s subsequent films but, over time, steadily fell out of synch with what he was doing from my disappointment with Dogma to the extent that I didn’t bother watching Jersey Girl or Clerks II. Maybe I felt like I’d grown out of Kevin Smith or that I’d gotten to a stage where he wasn’t important anymore.


So when a friend of mine, knowing about this blog and my challenge, lent me Clerks II with the words ‘It’s rayt fucking funny’ I was a touch worried about how I was going to find it. I was a bit surprised at the warm sense of return at the start. To see the characters back, not in bit parts or cameos but in a story of their own, was really pleasing. The return is definitely re-treading old ground but it’s pretty comfortable ground and for the most part it’s funny too. The same Kevin Smith problems that saw me drift away from his work are still in evidence; despite it being his strength the script can be too wordy by a fair distance (leave the Star Wars shit alone!), the editing is occasionally clunky and the sentimentality wins through in a very American way. That said it certainly isn’t the disaster I feared, the humour hits more than it misses, poor Brian O’Halloran’s inability to act is offset by the other cast members (Trevor Fehrman as Elias is superb) and it lead to me wallowing in a weird nostalgia as you can tell by this somewhat bizarre review.


Cheers to Shaun for the DVD and cheers to Andy for this alternative response/review when I told him I was watching Clerks II


“It’s utter, utter, UTTER balls. I went through that film doubling my loathing of it every minute that went by.”