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Film Review: Clerks II
In 2006, Kevin Smith released Clerks II as a sequel to his 1994 film Clerks and the sixth film set in the View Askewniverse. Starring Brian O’Halloran, Jeff Anderson, Rosario Dawson, Trevor Fehrman, Jennifer Schwalbach, Jason Mewes, Smith, Jason Lee, Zak Knutson, Wanda Sykes, Earthquake, Ethan Suplee, Ben Affleck, and Kevin Weisman, the film grossed $27 million at the box office. Screened out of competition at the Cannes Film Festival, the film won the Audience Award at the Edinburgh International Film Festival and was named movie of the year by MTV India as well as voted the third funniest film of 2006 by users of the Internet Movie Database. It was the ninth best reviewed comedy by Rotten Tomatoes.
A decade after Dante was forced to come in on his day off, he comes to work at the Quick Stop to find that the store is on fire. However, a year later, he and Randal are working at the local Mooby’s franchise but it’s Dante’s last day as he’s getting ready to move and get married. Unfortunately, his last day just can’t be as mundane as every other day. Further, Jay and Silent Bob have moved from their positions by what used to be the Quick Stop to behind Mooby’s.
Though not as good as the first film, Clerks II is still a good film that continues the story of Dante and Randal. Interestingly, it seems that Dante has had quite a bit of character development between films, though it isn’t fully complete until the end of this one. Here, he’s less likely to blame everyone else for his passiveness as well as complain about everything that life seems to throw at him. However, this also means he’s embraced being so passive which has led him to convince himself that what life does throw at him will actually make him happier than it should, causing him to get engaged with a woman he actually doesn’t love and make plans to leave New Jersey which he actually doesn’t want to do. It takes Randal having an honest, heartfelt moment with the guy, telling Dante that he loves him as a best friend to make him realize what he’s about to throw away because of embracing said passiveness.
Speaking of Randal, it seems that while he became quite a bit dumber than he was in the last film, so much as to not realize the difference between Helen Keller and Anne Frank, he still has the same personality. For one, he’s still openly antagonistic towards practically everyone, especially Elias. However, he’s also still pretty self-aware about both himself and Dante, seen during the scene in the jail’s holding cell when he’s tearing into Dante about how the guy’s just floating through life and what he himself would have done had he been in Dante’s position. Interestingly, he makes a point to say that while they were taking classes, those they did take weren’t going to get them anywhere and what they should have done was just buy the Quick Stop.
The film also has a lot of nods and call backs to the first film, such as when Dante asks Randal what he should do if he was “half the master of my own destiny” that the latter is, referencing when Randal called himself a “master of his own destiny” during the argument the two had about title dictating behavior. Notably, most of these call backs are in the last five minutes of the film after the two have bought the Quick Stop, such as Dante writing “I assure you, we’re re-opened” on a giant sheet outside, Randal telling Dante he’s not even supposed to be there today and the milk maid showing up who just so happens to be the same woman from the first film.
Like the first film, this one has a lot of humor too. One great moment is actually the first scene where he goes to open the metal shutters and sees the whole inside of the store is on fire. He closes them and then pulls them up to make sure that it really was on fire. It was. Another really funny scene is when Randal is mocking Elias about the Transformers and ends up using the drive thru microphone to sing a line from a King Diamond song that makes Jay come through the drive thru window to mosh and antagonize Elias with Randal.
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