On the Big Board
|It's a shockingly sweet film, but perfectly funny, too. It's exactly where you expect Dante and Randal to be at the age of 30-something.
|Surprisingly thoughtful and introspective. Unsurprisingly crude, rude and hilarious.
|Gone is the indie charm, but this sequel is still damn funny.
|Really very funny, but just not very good.
|Every bit as messy and uneven as Mallrats, it still proves consistently hysterical.
|A few funny moments, but Smith has seemingly mellowed, and that's not a good thing.
|Really funny in parts, but not consistently so.
Director Kevin Smith will never be described as a subtle man. From describing his own travails with weight-loss, parenting, and sex in his occasionally up-to-date blog to writing movies filled with direct and frequently crude (not that there's anything wrong with that) dialogue that is as hilarious as it is a realistic depiction of the way people actually talk (which is to say, quite), Smith has never been shy. His loyal cult of fans wouldn't have it any other way. That honesty and openness has led him to be one of the more accessible figures in Hollywood, for good and bad. For every real connection with his fans, there's an appearance on Yes, Dear that may not exactly cement his legacy. Now, Smith has decided the best thing for his career is go back to the well. Clerks 2: The Passion of the Clerks will revisit the same characters introduced in the original, only ten years later and in a different set of crappy jobs.
2004 was not, in Smith's own estimation, a particularly good year for him professionally. Whether that experience was the catalyst for revisiting his most innovative and enduring film is questionable (as the same characters have appeared a short-lived animated television series and there were already plans for an animated film), but at the very least, it does make you wonder if Mallrats 2: Willem Gets His Stomach Stapled or Chasing Amy 2: Who's Gay Now? are next down the pike. It's a fair question, and while there is certainly a wealth of possibilities that rise out of the other films in Smith's oeuvre, all of his films subsequent to Clerks have played a bit like sequels, if only in the sense that so much of each plot is informed and affected by the films that came before. Clerks, however, is the most obvious candidate for a sequel, as it remains among Smith's best work and was done with such economy that at a minimum, visual improvement is certain. Whether he can bring the same verbal brio and originality back to the characters and still unknown plot is the real money question, one that may make or break the film.
In large part to frequent Smith muse and friend Jason Mewes' drug issues, Smith's last movie, Jersey Girl, was the first of his work to depart from the universe and continuity of his previous films. Now clean, Mewes, along with fellow original cast members Jeff Anderson and Brian O'Halloran (and Smith himself) will reprise their roles. Joining the cast for The Passion of the Clerks are Rosario Dawson, Smith's wife Jennifer Schwalbach, Wanda Sykes, Trevor Fehrmann, and in one of what will likely be a multitude of cameos, Ben Affleck. Also new to the Clerks "franchise" is color film stock, which is sure to add an air of modernity to the proceedings. Producer Scott Mosier and director of photography Dave Klien both also return for The Passion of the Clerks. (Les Winan/BOP)