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.”

5 thoughts on “January 7th: Service with a Smile”

  1. Hahaaaa…. Brings back memories… ‘Would you like to make some fuck berzerker?’

    Film watchin’, bunking off afternoon games for spliffs and movies, then Mystery Science Theatre Three Thousand. Think I watched that Clerks premier with you?!?!

    Loving the site man, nice tight writing mate. Good luck… Hope you manage to do this and not flake out half way through.

    Peace

  2. Because of this blog i have had to revisit this film just to check what i thought and for the most part i agree with all you say, Brian O’Halloran can’t act but he never said he could, he didn’t want to do the sequel in the first place – that said his performance is heartfelt and you can tell he really doesn’t want to let Kevin Smith down, the humour does hit more than it misses and the huge potential pitfall of viewing this through rose tinted glasses is averted by both the mix of the humour of Clerks we loved so much and by introducing new but highly relevant parts such as Elias. I do remember approaching this film with both excitment and a level of trepidation, i loved Clerks (after Chris introduced me to Jay and Silent Bob a few years down the line – i guess i was too young to understand when it was released) and really wanted this to be just as good and the the bar was set very high, but all in all i really enjoyed it.

    In short crackin sequel, well produced (based on the resources available) and very funny – i hope that is where it is left for good

  3. As much as it pains me to say it no. His script writing is good however lately his failures seem to outweigh the successes, Jersey girl left him with a rather large debt to pay off as the production cost far outweiged the income (much to the dismay of the studio i’m sure) – i notice to counter this he has taken to directing a pleasantly watchable but utterly repetative show of which the name escapes me – but the premise is of a young guy collecting escaped souls for the devil and sending them back to hell – with some amusing parts.
    I believe he has called time on the View Askewniverse and just about at the right time, as all who grew up on it will look back with rose tinted glasses (rightly so) but this target audience has grown up now and Jay and Silent Bob probably can’t cut it any longer – we may see a resurgence in a few years time of the whole collection of J&SB films but i suppose that is for the younger generation to depict.
    Zak and Miri was a truly gastly offering which wasn’t even funny at the best of times. O’Halloran was unrecognisable – Clerks was his only real role where a bad performance can be tolerated for old times sake. But to start on the star wars stuff again was really very boring – i get the feeling Kevin Smith is best at writing a particular type of film with underlying humour, but this humour only really appealed to one generation and regretably, that generation has just simply grown up.

    Oh and that TV show was Reaper.

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