Clerks II (Two-Disc Widescreen Edition)Clerks 2 opens ten years after the original concluded. Dante and Randall pull up to the Quick Stop to find it burning down… apparently because Randall left the coffee pot on. Their lives as they know them are over… or are they? Flash to a year later and they are now working at Mooby’s - a fast food chain restaurant - with their boss, the incredibly out-of-place Rosario Dawson. Dawson does her best to pull it off, but she’s just too beautiful to belong in this movie, especially as a love interest for Dante Hicks. Fanboys and Mooby’s employees can dream, but it’s just too much of a stretch.

What’s interesting is that it seems like the $5 million budget for Clerks 2 vs. the $28,000 budget for the original actually ends up negatively affecting the film. With more production value and more action, Smith doesn’t seem to know what to do with his set or his actors. Also, bringing back Dante and Randall (Brian O’Halloran and Jeff Anderson, respectively) for another feature is just stretching it a bit much. Smith’s already squeezed these characters dry of nearly all interesting conversation after the first film, and while their deadpan lack of delivery might have worked in a low budget black and white film, here it’s almost painful to listen to. There are still a few funny monologues and moments, but for the most part, Dante and Randall’s complaining and bickering just comes off a bit screeching, especially considering that they’re now in their thirties.

It seems like Kevin Smith hit a wall with Dogma. After a string of successful, low budget films, maybe Smith ran out of solid ideas, or maybe he just needs to refuel his creative juices. Going back to the well with his original characters the first time for Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back didn’t prove very fruitful, so he set out to make a departure from his typical geekboy film with the romantic comedy-ish Jersey Girl, which flopped terribly, so now he’s back and digging deeper into the well with Clerks 2, Smith’s first straight-up sequel.

As for the DVD package itself, there are two discs, which makes for too much viewing really. There’s a documentary about the making of Clerks 2 that’s just as long as the movie itself, as well as a thirty minute blooper reel, with a few minutes of Jason Lee flubbing his lines, and proving that he just showed up to film for a few hours as a favor and is ready to get out of there.

Overall, Clerks 2 is an unneeded addition to the View Askew world and the rest of us could have done without it too. It needlessly adds to a story that concluded, and in fact detracts from the original. if you haven’t already seen it, I’d recommend staying away, or asking someone that’s seen it to tell you which few scenes are watchable and check those out.

For more information on Kevin Smith’s movies and the View Askewniverse, check out the official site

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