Let’s Go To The Mooby’s

It’s been years since I saw the original “Clerks.” At the time, I thought it was the most vulgar and brash movie I’ve ever seen in my life. Not to mention, it was breath-of-fresh-air funny. If I’m not mistaken, it might also be the same movie that ushered me into indies. However, it troubles me that I barely remember anything about “Clerks” except for a jaw-dropping bathroom incident. I guess Kevin Smith drifted off slowly from my radar as his films begin to decline in quality. But with “Clerks II,” I’m happy to report he’s back in glorious form.

In the “Clerks” sequel, straight guy Dante Hicks (Brian O’Hallloran) and ultimate offender Randal Graves (Jeff Anderson) now work in a bovine themed fast food joint named Mooby’s. This is because their convenience store has been burned to the ground. Nevertheless, the familiar bystanders Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (the director) are still around hanging around their workplace. Additional new characters that take part include: Dante’s fiancée Emma (Jennifer Schwalbach), fundamentalist Christian and LOTR fanatic co-worker Elias (Trevor Fehrman), and the realist boss of the Mooby’s joint Becky (the always watchable Rosario Dawson).

I think “Clerks II” is one of the more accomplished comedies of the year. I tend to be reluctant of comedies that push the envelope because they seem overreaching. Kevin Smith, on the other hand, has a style of his own that never feels strained. Despite the notorious contents he exhibits, the movie finds time to be simple and grounded. I think the best scenes involve Rosario Dawson smiling and a dance sequence to the tune of a Jackson 5 alphabetical song.

But of course, what’s really worth talking about are the tasty tasteless scenes, which usually involves Jeff Anderson’s Randal. Oh the guy is definitely annoying but he’s also entertaining, which I fear will become a model for morons out there to imitate. This time around, Randal goes out to offend women, homosexuals, the disabled, people of race, and animals. He just keeps on talking as if he actually has a point, which I think is the point. His best scene though involves taunting Elias and a customer about the banality of “Lord of the Rings.” In the same scene, Randal shows his inner geek by defending George Lucas and Star Wars. I was laughing the whole way through because I’m not exceptionally avid of both trilogies. I’m not surprised if Smith lifted the LOTR vs. Star Wars battle exchange right off geek message boards.

The setback to the movie though is that not every joke works. The subplot involving Brian and Becky is predictable from the moment we see them lock eyes. And the inevitable scene where Brian and Randal fight is written and acted awkwardly. Other than those mishaps, “Clerks II” is wicked of an entertainment, assuming you’re in the right (im)mature age group. I wonder if there will be a third film in the works. I’m sure Elias and Randal would be psyched for a trilogy.

Grade: A-

CAST
Brian O’Halloran, Jeff Anderson, Rosario Dawson, Trevor Fehrman, Jennifer Schwalbach Smith, Jason Mewes, Kevin Smith, Jason Lee, and Ben Affleck
Screenplay by
Kevin Smith
Directed by
Kevin Smith
Rated R for pervasive sexual and crude content including abberant sexuality, strong language and some drug material
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