Clerks - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Clerks Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ October 29, 2014
Kevin Smith deserved all the recognition that he got after presenting us with this hilarious slice-of-life cult movie, which was made with a very limited budget and yet is more authentic, refreshing and amusing than many comedies out there.
Super Reviewer
½ May 20, 2007
Shot in black and white on a meager budget of $27,000, this is one of the best 'a day in the life of' or 'slice of life' films ever, and a quintessential part of 90s independent cinema, and the start of the remarkable career of writer/director/actor Kevin Smith.

The simple plot follows two slackers in their early 20s who spend the day at their minimum wage jobs (a convenience store and an adjacent video store) dealing with a cadre of colorful customers and loiterers, chatting about pop culture, and riffing on their jobs, people (especially customers they dislike), and their own lackluster lives.

Dante is reluctantly their on his day off, and half-hardheartedly tries to make the best of it. Randal is his best friend, and openly mocks what he does and the people he has to deal with. They are a good match together, and it is a joy watching them hang out and talk. As if the oddball customers and loiterers (especially drug dealers Jay and Silent Bob) weren't enough of an issue, Dante has to also deal with an ongoing fight with his girlfriend Veronica, and the temptation to get back together with his ex-flame Caitlin.

Seeing this when I was around the age of the characters, and working at a place where it was easy to bitch about it and the customers, I was easily able to identify with this film, and take much influence from it. Now that I'm older, and somewhat wiser and more mature, my feelings towards this film have mellowed some, but not completely.

Most of this holds up pretty well, though some of it is a tad dated. The optimist in me would say that this adds to the charm, especially since I'm a fan of Gen X, slacker-related stuff, and dig on early 90s style and aesthetics. As a first feature, and given the limitations (mostly budgetary), I'd say Smith was pretty successful at making the most of what he had, despite the fact that some of the film is pretty rough around the edges, and a tad aimless and meandering once in a while.

I think the writing is still quite sharp, funny, realistic, and insightful. For a couple of foul-mouthed bums, Dante and Randal have some really good insights about people and life. They're not alone though, as the other characters have some choice observations as well. Yeah, the film is pretty raw and raunchy at times, but is actually rather tame compared to some of the stuff that has come out since 1994. Plus, even if it is vulgar, it's not just for the sake of it, and there's plenty of heart, depth, and, as I said, poignant observations.

Even though I will grow older and likely lose touch with this film more and more as time goes on, it will always hold a special place in my heart. It's a wonderfully fun hangout movie, and a prime example of taking a little, and turning it into a lot.
Super Reviewer
February 1, 2012
Criative and entertaining, Clerks it's Kevin Smith best work.
Super Reviewer
January 4, 2009
Profane, obscene and extremely intelligent.
Super Reviewer
April 19, 2007
What's strange about Clerks is that the characters speak of such hyperbolically disgusting things all the time - the first, but certainly not the last, time we see this technique from Smith - but the illusion never breaks. These people seem incredibly real. The acting in Smith's debut is pretty rough, and the budget is famously low, but this is a seminal 1990s film, gritty and honest and flying in the face of the economic recovery, showing us the children of the 1970s, all grown up now with no place to go. Take a Woody Allen movie and transpose it to your New Jersey garage, and you're getting close. These vignettes come together well enough in the end, and if one or two don't quite pay out, they're over quickly enough that you won't lose the enjoyment. Can't believe I waited so long to watch this, it's a great and original film.
Super Reviewer
½ November 20, 2011
Kevin Smith's wiity debut is a great introduction to the world of Kevin Smith.
Super Reviewer
August 9, 2011
Kevin Smith's "Clerks" is an interesting 1990's relic. If someone watches the film today, with no context of what it meant to independent cinema at the time of it's release, would see it as no more than a amateurish and shoddy raunch fest. Thankfully the amateurish nature and endless poor taste are combated with "Clerks'" place in film history. I found the film only sightly amusing. Smith has an ear for dialogue but none of it is screamingly funny. "Clerks" is a film that you should see for the simple fact that it changed so much in terms of what upcoming filmmakers can accomplish on a shoestring budget. "Clerks" became a phenomenon but undeservingly so. The film is ultimately a feature length film school project.
Super Reviewer
January 12, 2007
Kevin Smith's triumphant first film, Clerks, is easily one of the funniest movies of the 90's. It's quite a snapshot of a bunch of amateur filmmakers managing to pull off a very funny script. The film isn't perfect in parts - people flub lines, sound effects are a little silly and even the camera work is a little dodgy at times - but that just makes the whole piece a little stronger. The fact that it's in black and white makes it sort of documentary-ish, or like discovering an old tape that you love. Its lack of quality is mostly its strong point, along with extremely sharp and witty dialogue. It's not for everybody, but it's one of my favorites.
Super Reviewer
May 7, 2011
Ridiculously raunchy and full of truth, Clerks is an odd coming of age comedy which is hilarious and honest, but lacks an engaging, coherent narrative.
Super Reviewer
June 5, 2011
Clerks is an inspired and hilarious film from Kevin Smith. Being that it was made on such a small budget and that it was his debut, a lot of things were against Smith. He took a huge risk with this movie and put his future in jeopardy in order to make it. His dialogue is second to none and hilarious. The characters he created are foul mouthed and perverted, but they have heart and care about each other. Clerks is one of the greatest comedies ever made and one of my favorite movies.
Super Reviewer
June 1, 2011
Smith commands such excellence in this otherwise boring premise that it really makes the mundane life of these two "deadbeats" incredibly entertaining and more importantly, insightful.

It's a particular brand of down-to-earth vulgar humor that Smith is known for that really holds the viewer's attention but it shines most when he finds maturity and sophistication in characters that often carry themselves with such simplicity we'd often see right through them.

And such is this movie appropriately named and is about; Clerks.
Super Reviewer
September 6, 2010
A simply hilarious low budget comedy, I love it. It's Smith's first film, so if you like his work, you need to see it.
Super Reviewer
May 22, 2011
The directorial debut of Kevin Smith is definitely one of the best independent films ever made. The film is a comedy classic. Not only is it Smith's debut as a director, but Clerks also is the debut of Jay & Silent Bob, the rapping, dope smoking marijuana dealers. What makes this an interesting film is that it was filmed in black & white. The humour is witty and well conceived. One thing about Kevin Smith is his knack for writing a very funny film with lots of hilarious dialogue. Clerks has some very well written dialogue despite the fact it's fairly vulgar, but then again it's the whole point of a viewaskew film, right? Clerks is a fine independent film, and it shows that you don't a huge budget to create something memorable. Clerks is very original, and the story may be kinda dull, but Smith puts a twist on it that makes it something truly special. Clerks is not perfect, but it manages to be an accomplished film considering that this is a low budget comedy. Clerks showed the comic genius of Kevin Smith, and he became a terrific director afterwards. Clerks is a terrific gem of comedy film with a lot of vulgarities, but it's used in a very humourous manner. Smith would make better films, but Clerks remains one of his classics for sure. An original comedy that is fairly simple its story telling, Clerks is one of those films that proves you don't need a complicated idea to create a good. film. A must see for a fun evening.
Super Reviewer
September 8, 2007
Extremely vulgar but effectively shot comedy featuring two lovable losers just trying to get through the day at a convenience store. What they encounter are some of the world's worst customers, an ex-girlfriend, two drug dealers who just wander around all day doing nothing, and more horrific events and people. The dialogue is sharp, capped off by a gross-out finale that fits the film's plot well. Not for everyone, but it is cool to think Kevin Smith shot this in the old convenience store he used to work when it was closed, just to make this movie.
Super Reviewer
½ February 4, 2010
It was good, but I would never watch it again, because the humor did get boring after a while!
Super Reviewer
½ January 3, 2010
Kevin Smith set out to make a film about pop culture and he succeeded on every level. On a small scale it is a comedy with a lot of filthy language, but it is much more than that. Clerks is an essential generation x movie with both the mindset and mood of the time. It's pure cynical backlash to the world around. It's the small talk that you have every day, not something made to sound better.
Super Reviewer
August 2, 2009
The great thing about this film is its originality. It really is one of a kind. The characters talk in a stilted dialogue, painfully obvious that it's scripted, and the subject matter is more than ridiculous, and yet, the film works, because of its purely original storyline and concepts.

Comedies like this are a dying breed, where the main characters are actually established as characters, not some sideshow freak which trips over and makes a silly face for a laugh. Dante Hicks is a down-on-his-luck guy who doesn't seem to care about the fact or be willing to do anything about it. His best friend, Randal Graves, is a man who seems to know what he's doing, even though what he does most of the time is take advantage of his position at the video store ordering porn. Veronica is Dante's frustrated girlfriend who has just about had it with Dante's defeatist attitude. These three characters have one hell of a day, interrupted by Jewish guys, customers and hecklers who turn out to be salesmen for chewing gum just trying to get a commission. And these are just a few of the incidents, not even getting started on the menagerie of golden conversations which ensue, especially between Dante and Randall, covering everything from weird death positions to Return of the Jedi.

The black and white was a very bold choice for director Kevin Smith, as well as the extremely long takes and static camera shots which are prominent throughout the movie. This sort of style mimics the view of a security camera and makes the audience feel as if they are spying on the characters who are having the weirdest day of their lives.

Even though the set pieces themsleves are surprisingly subdued for such a critically acclaimed movie, there are a lot of laughs to be had here, and the film will only get better after repeat viewings. Great film.

Defining Scene:
My favourite scene is definitely playing hockey on the roof. Such an original thought.
Super Reviewer
½ February 11, 2007
This Kevin Smith's directorial debut and indie classic is so hilarious about the convenience-store clerk Dante Hicks spends a day in Quick Stop and develops shell shock from sexual revelations by his girlfriend, mopes over the marriage of a high-school flame, plays street hockey on the store rooftop, trades psychobabble with a cynical video-store clerk, and deals with a parade of weird customers.
Gee... plenty of coarse languages! I'm such a fan of Kevin Smith's films.
Super Reviewer
½ April 4, 2009
"Just Because They Serve You...Doesn't Mean They Like You."

A day in the lives of two convenience clerks named Dante and Randal as they annoy customers, discuss movies, and play hockey on the store roof.

This ultra-cheap debut of Kevin Smith has none of the elements that make movies work, but somehow still does. It's unconventional, it's experimental, and some people have stated that it's actually barely a movie, which leaves me with little rebuttal. However, this grainy, black and white recording about nobodies doing nothing is hypnotic in a way, and most of all strangely funny. Having Jay and Silent Bob (both seldom seen) dance is one of the most random things I've ever seen in a movie, but it really cracked me up. There isn't really a plot, and nothing is ever resolved, but this doesn't matter, cue off the wall dialogue about hermaphrodite porn. I have no idea why I laughed, I have no idea what I've even watched, but this is really good stuff. Only thing that bothers me is the little relationship story, it doesn't feel realistic because I'm a superficial bastard. The girl playing Veronica is quite a lot more attractive than the girl playing Caitlin, which makes the last twenty minutes or so a bit bothersome. Either way, this is an instant classic.
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