Friday, February 02, 2007

Movie review - Clerks 2

8 years ago, Kevin Smith created four characters... a completely dysfunctional and ambitionless convenience store clerk, an extremely vitriolic and obscene video store clerk... and 2 dope dealing friends. The movie went nowhere. Ended with one of the guys getting shot by an arbitrary thief... but it gave college guys conversation topics during binge parties... The movie was strangely appealing and was a surprise box office hit. It was excellent social commentary and milked the latent appeal of ennui in suburban living.

Clerks 2... carries on from there but with a slight twist. Both the two main characters have survived... no1 is shown how... but they have been working in the store for 10 years or so. The year is 2006 but they still have the same lack of ambition as in 1999 and are both extremely bored. The only change has been the degree of bitterness to the surroundings. The video store clerk's (Randal) bitterness has increased in exponential bounds. Dante still has two women running after him and is still unnable to decide what is good for him.

But, what was so appealing in Clerks 1 is sadly missing in the second part. Social Satire. Those excellent social commentaries about tobacco gum selling anti-tobacco activists, suburban home dwellers who commute ungodly hours to work... all those are missing. Clerks 2 is all about obscenity and seems like it is targetted at the 10 - 15 year range rather than the college crowd intended in Clerks 1.That is the biggest let down in the movie.

There are unnecessary STAR WARS vs LOTR arguments... Transformers flamewars... that shows how Randal has aged only in pop culture icons and not in maturity. Dante is still the more conservative of the two... (the ying to Randal's yang), Rosario Dawson is Dante's manager and love interest. The unnerving openness of these two's arguments makes us fidget at times but rarely does it make us think. Clerks 2 did not do well at the box office inspite of its record breaking predecessor because of one chief reason....

Kevin Smith did not factor in that the original fans of the movie would have also aged 10 years and also the fact that what college grads spoke about 10 years back are being spoken about by early teens now... which kind of makes this movie a 'wannabe' kind of cult classic. Pretty much like having a cartoon flick for children with animals parodying 1960s pop culture references... "Go ahead make my day... ", "They call me Mr Tibbs".. etc. There is no way such a movie is going to make big.

The movie is a paradise for trivia and connections buffs with scores of connects to earlier Kevin Smith movies... Jay wears a Buddy Jesus T shirt, the movie ends the way the first movie started.. a lady picking up milk cans, and "I assure you we are open" sign... What is good about the movie is that Kevin Smith has brought a logical ending to all the characters he created. Maybe next he would create better characters more in tune with the times.

2 comments:

sanjay said...

unnecessary or not, I really enjoyed Randal's LOTR 'walkthrough'. hehe.

Escape.... Great Escape said...

Hehehe.. wanted to watch what Peps would have thought about it. Wonder how much this movie made. it would not have made much money.