I got really upset watching Clerks. 2 last night. I loved the original film; genuinely off-the-edge-of-the-world humour (the wall wasn’t close to being in range), simple problems you could empathise with, believably unbelievable characters.
This tragic, mutant, elder step-cousin of a film entirely fails to live up the standards set by the original. Matt observed that one key problem is the fact that there simply aren’t enough jokes. There aren’t: I think there’s like, seven, in the whole film. Relative to the original, which had a healthy jokes per minute count… well, there’s no comparison.
There’s also the issue of the pointless filler scenes. Instead of jokes, which were clearly too much effort to script for a whole 90 minutes of film, Kevin sticks in a whole bunch of quivering-lip-indie-music-playing-lets-all-be-sad-for-the-characters scenes, which are designed to provide the same emotional impact that a punch to the heart would. Needless to say, they don’t. They reminded me of the scene from Friends when Joey moved out and was looking through a fake rainy window – except that scene actually made me feel something. The scenes are tedious, pointless filler, hot though Rosario Dawson is.
The next thing, which is related, is the fact that this really feels like a post-Jersey Girl film. Kevin Smith seems to have gone through some kind of middle-aged meltdown: now one of my favourite directors is behaving like a man who has had a particularly helpful course of therapy and is quite pleased about the world. Possibly there are also some sedatives at work. Anyway, end-result – the film has all the emotional poignance of a damp fish. None of the gut-wrenching emotion of Chasing Amy, and none of the raucous humour of the first Clerks or even Mallrats**.
Next, all the characters (with the exception of the My Name is Earl dudes) were tedious. They don’t seem to have moved on at all in 10 years, and then over the course of the film, each experiences some kind of significant epiphany. Rubbish. Although the new kid, Elias, is quite funny.
[Sigh]. Film critics know little. The idiots in Cannes who gave this a standing ovation are… well, idiots. Kevin, I really wish someone had slapped you whilst you were making this film (possibly someone like Will Ferrell or Vince Vaughan, and not your wife) and pointed out that you had completely missed the point. Those guys know how to do coming of age movies, which is essentially what this is.
** I actually think that Mallrats is the best Kevin Smith movie ever, bar none, but accept that my view here is controversial…