Clerks III

Kevin Smith goes back to his roots in hilarious and heartbreaking ways.

I’ve met Kevin Smith twice in my life, and his original “Clerks” stars “Brian O’Halloran, Jeff Anderson, and Jason Mewes, and I’ve told each of them that their franchise was one of the things I grew up with. I’ve enjoyed the first two “Clerks,” all the “Jay & Silent Bob” spin-off films, and even the animated series, which lasted only 6 episodes. Anything to do with these collaborators is always fun.

And now, at long last, we finally have a “Clerks III,” which is now inspired by how Smith cheated death by cancelling one of his shows to deal with his heart attack. He made the smart decision, because we still require his talents, and most importantly, he’s a human with vulnerabilities.

The Quick Stop slacker Randall Graves (Anderson) suffers a heart attack, but he’s lucky that his best friend and co-worker Dante Hick (O’Halloran) takes him to the hospital. That’s when “The Master of His Own Destiny” decides to make a movie about his life. And that’s when the movie wants to go back to the original filmmaking process of the first “Clerks.”

It talks about budgets, the black-and-white scope, the customers being played by ordinary people, the dialogue which isn’t afraid to insult people, and the original deleted ending in which Dante gets killed in a hold-up. It’s sure to remind movie-goers about how “Ed Wood” and “The Disaster Artist” celebrated filmmakers and their passion for movies. They have their struggles, they have their own opinions, and yet, somehow, they make us interested in their lives.

“Clerks III” is often very funny and nostalgic toward the franchise, but it’s also emotional and heartbreaking as we see these characters reaching certain points in their lives. I can’t spoil for you, because I want you to be taken as I was. It’s a threequel for people who were either born in the 90s, or saw the 90s the way Generation Y and Z didn’t. Smith’s cult classic survives the 2020s in more ways than you know. And twice this year, I visited the real Quick Stop in Leonardo, NJ, where it all began. And it still feels amazing to go back in time.

I did get a little tired with how the religious nerd Elias (Trevor Fehrman) decides to go to the dark side when praying for Randall’s revival, but he does have his own Silent Bob in the form of Blockchain Coltrane (Austin Zajur). Sometimes his moments are funny, somethings they wear out their welcome, but he still adds an interesting aspect to Randall’s story.

We also have Mewes and Smith both back as Jay & Silent Bob, who turned RST Video into their own weed store, but forgot that RST video closed awhile back. And Rosario Dawson adds a sweet touch as Becky. And you get cameos from the likes of Ben Affleck, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Amy Sederis, and Justin Long, who know how to act campy in a Kevin Smith feature.

O’Halloran and Anderson both expand on their characters, and underneath their vulgarity of pop culture and religion and whatever the F they want to talk about, they have their personalities. Some more conflicting than others. Randall still has his own attitude, while Dante still tries to figure out his involvement with life. Their chemistry is supposed be mean, funny, satirical, nostalgic, and good-natured, as Smith intended them to be.

“Clerks III” isn’t a perfect movie, but it still has something for fans to look forward to, and believe me: there will be laughs and tears. I know because I was laughing and crying. You are supposed to be here to see this movie today.

Rating: 3 out of 4.

Categories: comedy, Sequel

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