Clerks II

Director: Kevin Smith
Year Released: 2006
Rating: 1.0

It's been over a decade since the first Clerks, and flippant counter jockeys Randal and Dante are still working the counter (only this time at a fast food place); unfortunately, like your overly self-critical friends in their thirties, these guys are in early midlife crisis mode and in-between the tired dick jokes and uninspired conversations about Lord of the Rings, there's a ghastly attempt to convey serious emotion. The first Clerks was percolating with angst and fire and sexual wantonness - and hilarious, too - and it worked because it was pure id with only a dab of Woody Allen Neuroticism (who cared if Smith or Scott Mosier knew how to operate a camera: they were making a film, goddamn it). Now, the jokes don't hit as hard (Jason Mewes as Jay is once more the standout - his Ted Levine impersonation is brilliant - but stuff like the mule scene is really, really desperate) because Smith is trying to balance the outlandish comedy with things like family values and finding direction in life - say what you will about Wedding Crashers (and it had its flaws), but any moral taken from it was besides the point (oh yeah: stop sleeping around so much). Smith's idea of a fitting conclusion to their narrative is having them literally climb back up their mother's birth canal (here, an aisle of their store) and behind the safety of a counter. How ... regressive.