10 years ago, Clerks was released, appealing to the ever-growing population of the subculture of slackers. For a generation of grunge-music-listening, going-nowhere, fast-food-working young adults, Clerks became a cult favourite. With the release of Clerks II, Iï¿½m sure the very same people are attracted to this title, whether they have grown up and want to revisit that nostalgic feeling, or are still flipping burgers and living the slacker lifestyle. Whether you live in your parentsï¿½ basement or …ouï¿½re an upstanding citizen, Clerks II appears to be a slapstick movie that everyone can enjoy.
Clerks II picks up just where the original left off. Randall (Brian Anderson) and Dante (Brain Oï¿½Halloran) are still working their dead-end jobs at the Quickie Mart. Their days consist of one sarcastic quip after another, and of course the barrage of insults for every customer that walks through the door. But one day their world is turned upside down when a fire demolishes the Quickie Mart, forcing them to find employment with Moobyï¿½s, the local fast food joint. Life here continues much as it did back at their other job, with the exception of the new boss, Becky (Rosario Dawson), with whom Randall appears to be infatuated. Aside from documenting the daily tribulations of a burger flipper, Clerks II actually has a plot; Randall finally has a chance to grow up and make something of himself, as he is engaged and ready to move to Florida. Of course, this doesnï¿½t sit well with best friend and man-child Dante, but more importantly Randall is ultimately unsure if itï¿½s what he wants as well. As the movie plays out, some hilarious dialogue as well as some dismal humour is thrown our way. Our two protagonists have to make some important life decisions, such as, are they ready to turn their backs on their slacker lifestyles?
Clerks II is an amusing film sure to please fans of the original, with cameos by the likes of Jason Lee, Ben Affleck, Wanda Sykes, and, of course, supporting roles by Jay and Silent Bob. Thereï¿½s plenty of hilarious dialogue in this picture, including the ranting of a Star Wars fan on the redundancy of The Lord of the Rings films. At the same time, some scenes really drag with conversation that attempts to be funny, but never manages to strike a chord. The addition of Jay and Silent Bob is hilarious as always; the gullibility of Jay and the silence of the cunning linguist Silent Bob is always a welcome addition to any Kevin Smith picture.
Somehow, this movie seemed to leave me confused. Not because of the plot, but rather I found myself asking, did I like this movie? At its best, Clerks II reaches hilarious highs that remind me why the original achieve its cult status, but on the flipside, the film has plenty of lows with scenes that drag on, and even character shtick that becomes annoying at times. In the end, the positive outweighs the negative, leaving us with a decent movie. It helps that the film wraps up on a high note, with a hysterical ending compliments of Danteï¿½s going away party for Randall.
Clerks II is presented in 1080p, in 1.85:1 widescreen format, and offers a vast improvement over the SD DVD version of the film. The strong point of the disc is definitely onscreen detail. Rarely hidden in softness, the facial detail looks great as do the details shown in the restaurant. Colours looked vibrant and crisp, especially the purple and yellow uniforms worn by the Moobyï¿½s employees. I did find the transfer far too bright at times, particularly in the outdoor scenes. This is apparently the directorï¿½s intent, so itï¿½s hard to knock, but it is a distraction. Besides this, I must say Clerks II definitely offers one of the better transfers seen on HD DVD.
The Weinstein Company has decided to surprise us by including two audio tracks, the standard Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 as well as a TrueHD 5.1. Clerks II may not be the type of movie that makes good use of a TrueHD track, but it is always nice to have one included. The film is all dialogue but surprisingly never feels too front heavy, often adding subtle details through the rear channels. When ï¿½Goodbye Horsesï¿½ is played, the rear channels and the bass kick it up. Although there isnï¿½t much here besides dialogue and the occasional song, it does sound damn perfect.
Fans of Clerks II will be happy to know that they are given tons of special features spread over two discs, most presented in high definition. Itï¿½s rare that you enjoy the special features more then the features film itself, but with this release you just might.
- Audio Commentary – Director Kevin Smith, Producer Scott Mosier, and Director of Photography David Klein.
- Audio Commentary – Director Kevin Smith, Producer Scott Mosier, and Actors Jeff Anderson, Trevor Fehrman, Jason Mewes, Brain Oï¿½Halloran, and Jennifer Schwalbach.
- Podcast Commentary – Director Kevin Smith, Producer Scott Moiser and Actor Jeff Anderson.
- Deleted Scenes – Forty Minutes of deleted scenes. Very funny stuff here, more frequent laughs then the film itself. A must-see.
- Prepared by Kevin Smith (with Intro) – An introduction of the film by Kevin smith and Scott Mosier.
- A Closer Look at Interspecies Erotica – A more in-depth look at the funniest scene in the movie. Canï¿½t say any more then that, you will understand once you see it.
- Back to the Well: Clerks II ï¿½ A 90-Min. Documentary (with Intro) – A very in-depth making-of documentary, featuring a candid interview with Kevin Smith. Definitely one of the better ï¿½Making-ofï¿½ documentaries Iï¿½ve seen on HD-DVD.
- Hilarious Bloopers – We are given a full 30 minutes of bloopers, another must-see feature.
- Train Wrecks: Video Production Diaries (with Intro) – Another inside look at the production of Clerks II. Definitely the weakest of the ï¿½behind the scenesï¿½ features, offering little entrainment value.
- Clerks II VH1 Movie Special – If you watched the entire ï¿½Making of Documentaryï¿½ then there is little reason too watch this.
If you are a fan of this movie, the abundance of special features alone is a major selling point. With solid video and audio transfers, Clerks II on HD DVD is a sure buy for fans. If you havenï¿½t seen it yet, itï¿½s definitely worth checking out at least once, but itï¿½s really hit and miss for its viewers so make sure you watch it before you buy it.
Special Features List
- 2 Audio Commentaries
- Podcast Commentary
- Deleted Scenes
- Prepared by Kevin Smith (with Intro)
- A Closer Look at Interspecies Erotica
- Back to the Well: Clerks II ï¿½ A 90-Min. Documentary
- Hilarious Bloopers
- Train Wrecks: Video Production Diaries
- Clerks II VH1 Movie Special