Posted on 7/24/06 03:09 PM
While the production values have definitely increased since the original, "Clerks II" still has the charm and wit intact. Kevin Smith sets up a nice "bookend" to his New Jersey chronicles as the film tracks an important day in the lives of hapless Dante (Brian O'Halloran) and his smart-ass friend Randall (Jeff Anderson). The Quick-Stop convenience store is gone, and the two "clerks" now work at fast-food chain Mooby's. From there, Dante and Randall deal with changes in their lives and their possible futures, with new friends along for the ride - manager Becky (Rosario Dawson), fellow "funployee" Elias (Trevor Fehrman), and Dante's new fiance Emma (Jennifer Schwalbach, a.k.a. Mrs. Kevin Smith). Of course, drug-dealing comedy team Jay & Silent Bob (Jason Mewes & Kevin Smith) have a new hang-out now.
Kevin Smith may seem like he has another movie for his best fans, but a closer look shows that he has put a lot of heart into the story. Like the first "Clerks", you care about what will happen to Dante and Randall. Rosario Dawson as "Becky" brings warmth, feeling and an unique perspective towards life. Trevor Fehrman as "Elias" is a perfect foil for Randall. And, Jason Mewes provides for some funny scenes(and one mildly disturbing one).
The dialogue is hilarious, mostly thanks to Jeff Anderson's performance, as Randall gives out more of his personal insights. It may conjure up some weird images, though.
The sequel will definitely please Smith's hardcore fans, but it's not perfect. The dancing scene between Dante and Becky could have been touching, but Smith decided to "up the stakes" a little and it ruins the moment. Dante's fiance Emma was more a sweet character when she should have had a bitchy side; it would have played out better later on. I'm still not sure about the go-kart scene, it's kind of a "came out of left field" part of the film.
Kevin Smith has said that he has finally made the movie that he wanted to, and he has given something that all his fans will enjoy as well. Newcomers may be pleasantly surprised as well - Smith set up the movie so you don't have to see the original to get this one. No need for pirates, superheroes or talking cars here; just good, well-rounded, profanity-spewing characters.