Sure, the writing was witty and smart, but often too witty and too smart – and just plain contrived. I.e. in one scene near the end; our man Randal uses the word, “ostensibly.” Ostensibly?!?! WTF! What 22 year old convenience store clerk would use that in a sentence? Typical pretentious recent-college-graduate-intellectual-type language used to impress (we’ll talk about Dennis Miller later). Ostensibly! I now officially hate the word.
In addition, I kept being irritated by the 1940’s rapid-fire dialogue and horrific acting. I know, I know – this was done on a shoestring budget, over a weekend. But so what. If I go to a discount store, i.e. Wal-Mart to get a product, I still expect that product to work. Movies are an escape, if you can’t achieve the “willing suspension of disbelief” thing that Hillary Clinton speaks so lovingly of… Well, it just goes to show you, there are some things that are so fundamental – even Mrs. Rodham-Clinton and I agree on them.
Kevin Smith’s fake cigarette smoking was mind-numbingly irritating. I did like his imaginative camera angles though. I did like the best friend/video store guy Randal quite a bit, but once again, the rapid pitter patter disallowed that “willing suspension of disbelief” thing. I also liked the drug dealer Jay – he appeared to be the only professional. His contributions in an ensuing movie are one of the reason why “Chasing Amy” was probably Kevin Smith’s best film.
Personally, I kinda like the generous spreading of foul language, but that can become an overused gimmick (and incidentally, was one of the reasons I was turned off by Dogma). It’s the same ol’ same ol’ – sex, violence, unclean language – what Hollywood mistakes for edgy/cutting edge when they don’t know what to do or what to write. Listen, I’ve got as foul a mouth as the next guy – more so I’d speculate – but oftentimes, (I suppose it’s because they suffer from arrested mental/emotional development) filmmakers veer into the worn out groove of foul, fucking language.
If I was a producer or director I’m sure I’d look at this and think, “Okay, this Kevin Smith guy has some potential”, which is apparently what happened. And apparently the original $27,000+ combination of tuition, flood insurance money and friends & acquaintances investments, were supplemented by another $250,000 of studio cash. And sure, I chuckled a few times, and I did like the theme that our guy got around to – he’s ultimately responsible, and to get off his ass and quit making excuses. So there was a lot of potential. But, the Dollar Store quality of acting was really, really bad and the writing was juvenile (w/ a caveat though – it had lots of potential). At the end of this, I felt like the boy in “The Emperor Has No Clothes”. This sombitch is barely clad w/ rags!
I’m also thinking of Ed Wood. This movie fails completely on the technical merits for obvious reasons and has two options that would been a lot less embarrassing. It may have made a better radio show which has a need for the rapid fire dialogue or – this would’ve been a lot better if it’d been bought by a producer and remade with/by professionals. I understand there’s a Clerks II. Maybe that’s what they did. If I hadn’t felt like this Clerks tome hadn’t wasted so much of my rather limited lifespan, I might be inclined to check that version out.
As a side note/bit of positivity, and in a bit of sentimental, retro-mindedness; in the last scene where the duo of Dante & Randal is leaving, I notice the faded jean jacket Randal’s wearing and I think I want one. So – I suppose if I see a Levi’s jean jacket somewhere and decide to buy it, this film wasn’t a complete waste of my time.
One thing it had going for it, it wasn’t as irritating as Avatar, but it was close and only slightly less boring.
This film gets a 9 out of 17.