Movie Journal #2: Clerks II
It is fourteen years since I first saw Kevin Smith’s Clerks. I have grown up, and Smith has not. He showed signs of it once, with Chasing Amy, and certain parts of the unfortunately uneven Dogma. But he never followed through, or perhaps he never escaped his own crude instincts or his fan base of groundlings clamoring for more of his clever idiocy.
He is, honestly, still a very funny fellow. Clerks II is bursting with outrageous dialogue and spot-on pop culture references; I was nearly on the floor when drug dealer Jay performed the Buffalo Bill dance from Silence Of The Lambs. But, as always, he strives to make a more heartfelt, wise experience, and where Chasing Amy stung with truth, Clerks II is only unoriginal and uninspired, no more ambitious than any generic sitcom.
The film is not irredeemable. It stars Rosario Dawson, after all (a bright spot in a cast of amateurs), and has enough crude laughs to entertain. It’s only that Smith is so much smarter than this. Jersey Girl (unseen by me) may have been a step in the right direction; one hopes that Smith would overlook its failure and keep moving that way.