Clerks II Rings Up Holiday Cheer

One of the flicks we ventured out to see in the theater’s this year was Clerks II, which came out this summer during the onslaught of big budget special effects movies. After a slow start, we found the Jersey-based comedy a worthy successor to Jersey boy Kevin Smith’s original, released more than a decade ago. It’s crass, it’s low brow and it’s incrediblyClerks 2 entertaining.

The reason I bring this up now is that the Clerks II DVD, which came out a few weeks ago, made it under JerseyCool’s Christmas Tree this year and we took a second look at the film last night. JC is glad to report that the film holds up on second viewing and we laughed just as hard at Smith’s troupe of foul-mouthed misfits as we did in the theater. If there was a least likely pick for movie sequel, Clerks II was probably it. The first Clerks was a self contained entity. A day in the life of store clerks, the folks most of us see every day for a few minutes as we get our coffee, rolls, candy and smokes on the way into work. Most people don’t give these folks a second thought but they are intimately entwined into our Jersey landscape and seem to hold a special place in Smith’s heart.

JerseyCool is an admitted Kevin Smith fan. There’s a link to his viewaskew.com web site in out blogroll and, heck, we even liked Jersey Girls. With Clerks II, Smith has firmly entrenched himself on the right of Bruce Springsteen as ambassador for the Garden State. This is more clear on the Clerks II DVD as Dante Hicks, Smith’s main character and alter ego, struggles with his decision to leave NJ for sunny Florida where his fiance’s father has set him up with a job running a car wash.

“We’re surrounded by idiots here,” his fiance complains and one wonders how this is different in the wastelands of Florida.

This is a common conundrum among Jersey’s younger folk. The desire to set out and leave Jersey for something else is strong here. Perhaps because the state is so adamantly suburban. High taxes, home prices and traffic aren’t helping ths situation and we’re sure Smith has struggled this in his own life as a Hollywood-Jersey based film maker.

I don’t want to give away the movie’s ending, which is predictable in it’s own perverted way, but Smith is saying something about the value of home and roots, family and friendship. He’s saying it while poking fun at Lord of the Rings geeks and in between a stream of dick and fart jokes but the message is there nonetheless.

If you missed it in the theaters or dismissed the flick as some sort of heresy, Clerks II is worthy of a look-see. It’s a potty movie with a heart of gold.

JC

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