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Overall Rating

Awesome: 31.16%
Worth A Look32.61%
Average: 5.07%
Pretty Bad: 5.8%
Total Crap: 25.36%

7 reviews, 96 user ratings

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Clerks II
[] Buy posters from this movie
by Erik Childress

"Kevin Smith's Finest Achievement - So Suck It Joel Siegel"
5 stars

In 1994 I was just another person working at a video store, back at a time when it was vogue to be an aspiring filmmaker employed at such a place. For one of my college films, I even made a half-hour short about life in the night of such employees. Little did I know that a filmmaker named Kevin Smith was right around the corner with a $28,000 black-and-white independent feature about just such a concept that would become an indie sensation and launch a cult following that continues to this day. It’s now 12 years and five features later, fans loyal as ever and critics still divided in praise over his clever repartee and scorn over his lack of growth as a filmmaker. Even when he tried with an Oscar-winning cinematographer having his back for the cute, but formulaic PG-13 ode to family, Jersey Girl, his base turned their back and the critics were unimpressed. Going back to what got him here, Smith has managed to take what could be construed as a pander attack to win back his audience and turned it into not just an all-around growth experience for him and his characters but a film that is in several ways actually better than the original.

Despite his perpetual whining about his lot in life in the original and a wake-up speech from his closest counterpart, it may surprise viewers to find Dante Hicks (Brian O’Halloran) still working at the Quik Stop convenience store in Jersey. Only he arrives to a rude awakening when he’s finally able to get those shutters open and find the place burning from the inside out. Jumping forward from his last day there to his last day at the Dogma-inspired Mooby’s fast food restaurant, Dante is about to get married and move out of the state once and for all to Florida. Despondent about this shift into adulthood is hetero life-partner, Randall (Jeff Anderson), still shucking responsibility and getting annoyed by seemingly every “mouth-breather” that dares to share the same space as him.

Randall isn’t the only one sad to be seeing Dante leave. It seems in his time at Mooby’s he’s developed a close friendship to its manager (Rosario Dawson), who took over the location while her uncle recovered from cancer (and doing a pretty darn good job considering she only seems to have three other employees for a full day’s work – 2 ½ if you count Randall.) She even gets the nail polish treatment Dante’s beloved Veronica got in the first film; clearly Smith’s flashing signal of the girl Dante should be with instead of the slightly possessive fiancée (Jennifer Schwalbach, Smith’s wife) who has chosen a “Mrs. Hicks” T-shirt as her fashion statement of the day.

This already probably feels like way too much plot to detail a film that rises to glory during geek rants about movies and the frank conversations about deviant sexual acts. Fans of the original certainly won’t be disappointed as Smith has gone from “snowballing” to “ass-to-mouth” with the transition of someone who was only getting warmed up a dozen years ago. Randall’s battle with a pair of Lord of the Rings fanatics over the only trilogy that matters (Star Wars) will be appreciated by even the staunchest supporters of both and ends on a note of implosion so perfect that its impossible to imagine such a spirited debate of passion ending any other way.

Leaving its other morsels to the discovery of the viewer, their greatest surprise may be just how sweet the film truly is. Where Jersey Girl was ready to hit those buttons at every corner, Clerks II succeeds because of its unanticipated depth to its relationships. Jay and Silent Bob (Jason Mewes & Smith) come labeled as “new and improved”; a result of a probationary stint in 12-steps, but no such branding prepares for the emotional resonance of Dante and Randall’s off-kilter friendship. During one of Randall’s work blow-offs he gets Dante to take him to a go-kart track; not the first choice for anyone suffering through a sudden bout of regret but certainly one rife with the potential for wackiness. Something odd happens though halfway through this scene. You realize its not about laughter, foolishness or irresponsibility. This is a moment for them. Set to “Raindrops Are Falling On My Head”, all signs point to Smith using this as a time for mocking (even Sam Raimi used it to comic effect in Spider-Man 2.) But its all Dante and Randall and its genuine. No car crashes, no screwing around with other drivers and no kissy-face parodies and it sets the tone for a final act that might have come off as otherwise forced and obvious.

Overselling the drama isn’t what Clerks fans probably want to hear. Smith probably wouldn’t either. So let me reiterate that part deux hits its moments of shock and awe with thunderous laughter. Jay and Silent Bob may not be as adversarial as they used to be, particularly after Randall dropped dime on them in Strike Back, but their pas de resistance of The Silence of the Lambs is worth the trip alone. Loads of credit must be given to Rosario Dawson, who Smith himself sums up just right during the special thanks by saying how strong her performance is that it will lead audiences to believe that she would actually screw Dante. As the girl next door and the boss every fast food employee wishes to be taught dance in a loose-fitting tanktop, its great work no matter how you sum it up. Its Anderson though who keeps Randall from veering into complete insensitivity, really nailing the extra load of ferocity in his diatribes and walks the tightrope just perfectly during the final scenes, leaning just this side of overwrought sincerity into a truly touching performance.

Clerks II may not rank as the most gut-busting of Smith’s resume (although many moments are), but we’re left with a maturity that punches us in the gut the way it does Dante and Randall. Like one of his oft-referenced heroes, Spielberg who was once criticized for the growing up that Hook represented, Smith has found a way to emulate him with the kind of combined nostalgia of his previous work and a leap into another path for his work as Steven managed with his ’93 double bill of Jurassic Park and Schindler’s List. Another lofty comparison, I’m aware, but as the film’s brilliant final Graduate-esque shot seeps through you it should dawn that this is Kevin Smith finding his way as a complete storyteller who shares more than just a connection with the two characters who brought him here a dozen years earlier. It’s him profoundly finding the bridge between the worlds and inviting his loyal audience to cross it along with Dante and Randall.

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originally posted: 07/21/06 14:46:52
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User Comments

9/13/17 morris campbell decent the 1st one was alot better 3 stars
8/16/17 Jon Fans would appreciate it most. Dawson was great and originals were satisfyingly in characte 4 stars
12/21/14 Dane R. Youssef Somehow, MORE than just more of the same. The message may bring some to real tears. 5 stars
4/01/13 Marty L Gritty. fun, cynical humor. Not for the feint of heart. Must see in my opiinion 5 stars
12/13/12 Ben Saddens me to say it sucks, LOVE THE ORIGINAL. This is like Star Wars the prequels (bad) 1 stars
6/10/10 joey a worthless piece of manure 2 stars
3/07/10 Marc Kelly Better than the original. Very funny. 5 stars
9/20/09 Electric John My neighbors banged on our adjoining wall because my loud laughing was keeping them up. 5 stars
8/20/09 Jeff Wilder Gets the job done. Not as funny as the original. But still worth your time. 4 stars
4/03/09 Dane Youssef A worth sequwl. Smith comes full-circle. Hilarious, of course. And about something vital. 5 stars
8/11/08 Jon G romantic comedy = barf 2 stars
10/24/07 Charles Tatum I'll say it...better than the first and funny as hell "ooh, cake!" 5 stars
9/14/07 Equinox maybe if i had down syndrome 1 stars
7/17/07 Andy It was damn funny get ya head out of ya asses, and lighten up 5 stars
6/01/07 Matt F. I'm a Kevin S. fan, but the reviewer is right on alot of counts. 2 stars
5/20/07 Quadraphonic Some good cheap laughs but not the same kind of substance you had in the original. 2 stars
5/02/07 fattyjoe37 Great follow up to the classic original 5 stars
4/30/07 John Sucks and if you think otherwise I would not ever want to meet you. 1 stars
4/15/07 arl It's Citizen Kane, but I didn't expect it to be. Funny though! 4 stars
3/27/07 fools♫gold Like 40-Year-Old Virgin, it's yet another rather unfunny overrated bucket of puke. 1 stars
3/21/07 dude it was good 4 stars
2/26/07 Sharlatan david cornelius knows... 1 stars
2/20/07 Beau After i'd seen it i felt...dirty, like a part of my life had been stolen forever 1 stars
2/11/07 matti newcannon starts slowly, a2m was gross and unfunny, superb after that. this reviewer is a total dick 5 stars
1/24/07 bobski kevin smith is nothing compared to j r tolkien he hasnt a fukin clue!!starwars is shit btw 1 stars
1/22/07 joey Huge disappointment. Feels way too forced, not to mention sappy. Watch Dogma again instead. 2 stars
1/09/07 MickT Go rent Meatballs 4 instead, same calibur, much funnier! 1 stars
1/05/07 matt and King Diamond rules 4 stars
1/05/07 Indrid Cold As funny as the original, but nowhere near as fresh. 3 stars
1/02/07 Sam reviewer is a dumbfuck, he has no life so he thinks trashing films will make him seem big. 5 stars
1/01/07 matt Fehrman's performance felt forced, otherwise very funny and enjoyable 4 stars
12/30/06 alucard The clerks sequel that I've been waiting for. Absolutely hilarious! 5 stars
12/28/06 Deborah Ehh, it seems like instead of Smith getting better with aage he is just getting stale 1 stars
12/20/06 Buffy Worst Movie Ever! No stars for this crap. 1 stars
12/18/06 PK Total disaster, the worst acting I've seen all year. Age has not been kind to the cast. 1 stars
12/13/06 Bob If you're stoned or 10 years old, then u might enjoy this. Otherwise, you'll fall asleep 1 stars
12/12/06 Em This movie sucked ass. 1 stars
12/05/06 Shaggy Got me "Sex nuts and retard srong"! 5 stars
12/04/06 Emily absolutely hilarious movie...I laughed so hard I cried 5 stars
12/03/06 Brad wow, these comments vindicate postmodernism; i figured most everyone would find this funny 5 stars
12/01/06 Ryan_A Dancing Dawson good for a star all by herself. Perfectly acceptable film. 4 stars
12/01/06 toast only funny part i laughed at was when he was like " forgive me Jesus" while jerkn it lol 1 stars
10/15/06 William Goss Smith tries tenderness with a story of two men and their favorite pieces of ass. Amusing. 3 stars
10/07/06 EVEN THE TREES WALKED IN THOSE MOVIES!!? the ents in lotr rocked ,unlike george lucas shitty creations like R2D2,jarjaretc/koolfilm 4 stars
10/06/06 Fish possibly the greatest in smith's repetoir and amazingly funny 5 stars
10/03/06 Beau I am not going to downgrade myself to this standard of movie, this's for ppl with no brain 2 stars
10/03/06 The Master of The Internets A work of art. Fitting sequel to the original. HOWEVER I SUGGEST YOU WATCH IT WITH A FRIEND 4 stars
9/29/06 Joey CCCCRAAAP movie!! Watch Smith pimp his super/special/pumped up DVD. Kevin Smith is gay! 1 stars
9/29/06 yumyum complete garbage. 1 stars
9/05/06 The Maz This was lame. Kevin Smith, you suck. 2 stars
8/29/06 laura schofield AWESOME 5 stars
8/29/06 Kevin One word. Perfect. It was everything it needed to be 5 stars
8/24/06 Rapunzel Gladstone BARELY avg. J&SB were SO much better with Eliza Dushpu, Ali Farter, and Shannon Elizabeth! 3 stars
8/21/06 Sam well I thought i was fucking halrious 5 stars
8/12/06 nicolecrom2678 A must see 5 stars
8/10/06 Old Dirty Not as good as the original, but still great 5 stars
8/09/06 Matthew Brown I loved this movie - and unlike the review suggests I thought Clerks II was very funny 5 stars
8/07/06 Nixon This movie was quite hilarious, and I loved it. I've seen it multiple times, actually. 5 stars
8/07/06 Jim Vincent You obviously have no sense of humor and don't understand Smith's childish approach 5 stars
8/07/06 Sloth If you say it sucks then you suck 5 stars
8/06/06 Erik Van Sant Kevin Smith is a bad filmmaker. This is a sterling example. Fun to see the old gang, though 3 stars
8/02/06 jane it was sooooooo funny 5 stars
8/02/06 RugbyBuffy Laughed SO much! Like another Harold and Kumar...except more intelligent. 4 stars
8/01/06 Zoe offensive and not in a good or funny way. in a lame unnecessary way. 1 stars
8/01/06 Yolanda ass to mouth. this is the film equivalent. don't do it! so don't see it... 1 stars
8/01/06 Schooner Awesome! I loved almost every moment of it...a top-three Kevin Smith film 5 stars
8/01/06 raging cajun worse than Jersey Girl. 1 stars
8/01/06 kill me now so bad this movie makes you want to kill yourself 1 stars
8/01/06 Mike V Kevin Smith's shtick is painfully boring. 1 stars
8/01/06 CurtisEarl Exactly what I expect from Kevin Smith - Not gonna win an oscar but, I laughed my ass off. 5 stars
8/01/06 Strangef8 Kevin hits it on the head. I loved it! 5 stars
7/31/06 bob meh, not for me 1 stars
7/31/06 pimp smack this bitch, ho! dis movie SUCKS 1 stars
7/31/06 jeffrey stonard I want my money back 1 stars
7/31/06 eric campos I agree with Chris. 1 stars
7/31/06 kevin bad 1 stars
7/31/06 joefranks simply horrid 1 stars
7/30/06 adam james carolla This is the worst movie i have ever seen. if your a retard you will enjoy the film. 1 stars
7/30/06 Mase Easily the funniest movie i've seen all summer, Kevin Smith is clearly back in his element 5 stars
7/29/06 kaerf Jay's antics never get old. Religious commentary was nice even if morality wins in the end. 4 stars
7/29/06 JockoManjelly Probably his best. The tone of it was perfect. Good balance of silly & serious. 5 stars
7/27/06 Swedgin Agree with review, extremely unfunny and forced 2 stars
7/27/06 davebutt69 It was kevin smith's best movie to date. Jay and silent bob steal the show. Laughed out lou 5 stars
7/27/06 Big Dick DaMooch great fucking movie seen it 3 times 4 stars
7/26/06 Agent Sands Not that I see why everyone's treating it like it's Smith's masterpiece, but it was funny. 4 stars
7/25/06 mwr Only a complete moron could laugh at this borefest 1 stars
7/25/06 Tom Forsdike Excellent laughs, very entertaining. 5 stars
7/24/06 Bebop second only to dogma. 5 stars
7/24/06 ajay funny stuff, I busted up laughing several times throughout... 4 stars
7/24/06 KingNeutron Dogma was better, J&SB Strike Back was better. 3 stars
7/24/06 gromm Awesome comedy! On par with Dogma! 5 stars
7/23/06 malcolm just more of same; a2m description unnecessary OMB 3 stars
7/23/06 Ole Man Bourbon Sigh. Ass to mouth means you fuck an ass with a cock and the girls sucks it. Not asslicki 4 stars
7/23/06 wiltone little man 5 stars
7/22/06 8=======D IT OWNED! 5 stars
7/22/06 A F Hilarious!4.5.... The Lord of The Rings part...."Beautifully fuckin illustrated"-Sickboy TS 5 stars
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  21-Jul-2006 (R)
  DVD: 28-Nov-2006



Directed by
  Kevin Smith

Written by
  Kevin Smith

  Brian O'Halloran
  Jeff Anderson
  Rosario Dawson
  Trevor Fehrman
  Jason Mewes
  Kevin Smith

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