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PCR # 330  (Vol. 7, No. 29)  This edition is for the week of July 17--23, 2006.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review
"Clerks 2"

Movie review by:
Michael A. Smith
Three stars

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

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"Clerks 2"  by Mike Smith
VSDA  by Mark Terry
I Meant To Mention This Last Week....Anne Francis Stars In....Love Those Wings....My Favorite Films, Part 29: "The Godfather"  by Mike Smith
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The Weinstein Company     
Starring: Brian O'Halloran, Jeff Anderson, Rosario Dawson and Jason Mewes
Directed by: Kevin Smith
Rated: R
Running Time: 1 hour 43 mins

A dozen years ago, an admitted comic book/movie geek named Kevin Smith gathered some friends together, maxed out his credit cards, and ushered in a new era of film. Rather then having stars or special effects drive the movie, Smith used dialogue. Whether discussing their sex lives, favorite life moments or whether the builders of the Death Star in "Star Wars" were independent contractors or not, it was the written word that captured your attention. Films like "Reservoir Dogs," "The Usual Subjects" and "Pulp Fiction" followed, and a new genre was born. And now, with the sixth chapter in the continuing adventures of Jay, Silent Bob and the gang at the Quick Stop, Smith scores again with "Clerks 2."

It is a sad day in a little town in New Jersey. The Quick Stop store and it's neighbor, RST Video, has burned down. And no one is sadder then Dante' Hicks (O'Halloran) and Randall Graves (Anderson), the respective clerks who have devoted more then a decade to their jobs. Forced to find work elsewhere, they go to work at Moobys, a local fast food restaurant (think McDonalds as owned by Disney). Though the clientele is different, they still find time to discuss their love lives, slack off on their jobs, and get into movie arguments, especially with teenagers who believe that the only true film trilogy is "The Lord of the Rings." Dante is about to give his notice, planning to move to Florida with his new fiancee, Emma (Jennifer Schwalbach). This of course throws Randall into despair, as he realizes that the only friend he has, or probably ever will have, is moving on. But it's not all sentiment. There are plenty of laughs to go around. And, oh yeah, a donkey show! No wonder the film received an eight minute ovation after it screened at the Cannes Film Festival.

Having seen his last film, "Jersey Girl," destroyed by the media tornado that was Bennifer (trust me, Kevin, if Affleck and J Lo had starred in "Gone With The Wind" it wouldn't have made a dime), writer/director Smith returns to what he knows best. He has brought his characters full circle, assuring us that, even if we never see them again, they will survive. And Smith is true to these characters, not letting them do or say anything that the audience would find phony. When Randall uses a term that, depending on the use, could be considered racist, Anderson is all wide-eyed indignance, as if a childhood nickname from his grandmother could mean anything bad. As Dante, O'Halloran brings a sense of peace to the film. He's been covering Randall's behind since the day they met, and the fact that he's planning to move a thousand miles away doesn't mean he won't still cover it twenty years from now. Newcomers to the "Clerks" world, Rosario Dawson and Wanda Sykes, have great fun with their roles. And true "ViewAskew" fans will delight in seeing Ethan Suplee and Jason Lee drop by. Heck, even old pal Ben Affleck pops up, thankfully without you know who. And, of course, it's not a Kevin Smith film without Jay (Mewes) and Silent Bob (Smith himself). These two characters belong on the same list with those created by Laurel and Hardy, Abbot and Costello and Martin and Lewis. Whether speaking his mind or performing a very EXACT version of the dance Ted Levine did in "Silence of the Lambs," Mewes steals every scene he's in. He has a way of speaking the truth, though not always in the best of language. And while the film is a comedy, there is also some sentiment underneath all of the laughs. In "Clerks," Randall was upset that Dante was getting involved with an old girlfriend. "Break his heart again," Randall tells her, "and I'll kill you." While Jay has always introduced Silent Bob as his "hetero life mate," it is actually Randall that is connected to Dante. It's obvious that he will miss his friend, and Anderson makes us miss him too.

If you're familiar with Kevin Smith's films, you know that the language and subject matter will be very strong.. But blue or not, the words and adventures are funny, and that's why they call it a comedy. On a scale of zero to four stars, I give "Clerks 2"  Three stars

This week's movie review of "Clerks 2" is ©2006 by Michael A. Smith.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2006, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2006 by Nolan B. Canova.