The Red Right Hand
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CLERKS II
No Experience Necessary

Director
Kevin Smith
Starring
Brian O'Halloran
Jeff Anderson
Rosario Dawson

Kevin Smith isn't for everyone; his writing style is blunt, crude and hilariously poignant at times. Most Smith fans will know how to gauge their friends by how many View Askew [Smith's production company] flicks they have seen and how many minutes of Clerks they can endure without blushing or storming off. Clerks is a particularly favoured movie of mine, simply for its cheap production and shockingly true to life (certain walks of said life) dialogue. Originally shot in New Jersey, 1994, with a budget of $27,000,000 (mostly generated from overdrawn credit cards) Clerks fell flat on its face until given a generous write up by producer, Bob Hawk. Over the years Smith has tried to edge away from the stoner jokes of 'Jay [Jason Mewes] & Silent Bob [Smith]' in favour of more heart-felt writings. Unfortunately for him, he scripted and shot the highly unpopular Jersey Girl and vowed he would return to form with the long awaited sequel to Clerks. Shooting under the working title, The Passion Of The Clerks, the story picks up ten years later but might as well be from where the original left off; Dante [O'Halloran] and Randal [Anderson] still work at the Quick Stop, that is until it's burned to the ground. Desperate for work, the two misfits find themselves slacking off at a local fast-food chain - Mooby's. Working with them are nineteen year old geek, Elias [Trevor Fehrman] and their boss, Becky [Dawson]. As with the first movie, very little happens in the film. Dante is getting married and moving to Florida, Randal is constantly ripping on Elias in the most foul, disgusting ways known to man (offending most of the general public in the process), ignorant, stuck-up customers come-and-go and Jay & Silent Bob are still hanging around out the front (only this time selling instead of taking drugs - due to Mewes' real life rehabilitation). There are also a few cameo appearances from Jason Lee, Ben Affleck (a cameo of the briefest kind), Wanda Sykes, Kevin Weisman, Ethan Suplee, etc.

Unlike Clerks, the sequel has more of a plot and meaning rather than acting as a large omnibus of fart, dick and weed jokes; this is one of the downsides. I'm not sure why, maybe it's because the language is so fowl, maybe it's the setting but you simply cannot take half of the heartfelt element seriously; most of it seems to roll off as cliched sappy nonsense. Dante, being controlled by his condescending wife-to-be, is stuck in a rut as he must choose between a 'positive' future in Florida or one in New Jersey with his sidekick, Randal and the girl he truly cares about, Becky. Anyone that knows the first film's script will know it's a similar predicament - even Randal comments on it by saying, "How the fuck do you always have two good-looking girls who want you? You're the most hideous fucking chud I've ever met, yet you always have a pair of girls fighting over you." Having said that, most of the movie works extremely well and when things start to slow down they are almost always countered with an undercutting scene/line that will have audiences laughing. It may be my sick, twisted personality, but I have to say that although the cornerstone relationship in the film is between Becky and Dante, the key feature for me was the Dante & Randal friendship (even if it is peaked in an extremely [almost false] gushy, yet homophobic scene in a jail cell). Watching these two men having their own little crisis about their status in society and how they are perceived by their peers & the public is something the majority of the Western world goes through - at least the new wave of intelligent but lazy working class.

This is a sequel in many senses of the word, attributing and nodding towards previously seen characters, sustaining running gags but really tries to add something new to the proceedings - for those that are new to the View Askewniverse - without pissing off the hardcore fans (You know who you are! You're the guy wearing the T-Shirt that says, "I'm 37!?"). Not only that but the writing style and content is extremely esoteric and will probably only hit off well with other nerds and geeks. One scene in particular is started as Elias mutters, "One ring to rule them all." The customer raises his eyebrow, squints his eyes and replies, "One ring to find them." As they finish the phrasing, each produces a replica of the 'one ring.' This kicks off an entire debate between Randal and the two hobbit-lovers over which is better (and the true trilogy), Lord Of The Rings or Star Wars. It will have the audience split in three; those that don't care about either and the hardcore fans at each other's throats - probably choking the life out of the guy in seat G3 because he laughed at the line, "That look was so gay. I thought Sam was going to tell the little Hobbits to go for a walk so he could saunter over to Frodo and suck his fucking cock. Now that would have been an Academy Award winning ending."

Release Date:
22nd September 2006

The Scene To Look Out For:
I can't help it, it's so very wrong and yet I can't stop myself from saying it. My favourite scene was the Kinky Kelly and the Sexy Stud. Randal decides to order Dante a little gift as a send off - why anyone would want to see a guy going down on a mule and then penetrating it's anus is beyond me but everything about that scene was hysterical; finished off nicely in jail as the stud slides down the prison bars, onto the floor, sighs and mutters, "I miss my donkey."

Notable Characters:
Randal is king and I am so sorry to disappoint but it's the geeky Elias. Everything he said was so disgustingly nerdy that you can't help but like him! He's so stupid and innocent! Poor bugger.

Highlighted Quote:
"One semester we took criminology for God's sake! Criminology! Who the fuck are we studying to be, Batman?"

In A Few Words:
"As with most sequels, this is one for the fans - outsiders beware, the language is steep (to say the least)"

Total Score:
7/10


Matthew Stogdon