Let's face it: When it's twelve years later and you're doing the same thing artistically that you were doing twelve years ago, something isn't working.
If you're a filmmaker, there's got to be something disturbing about doing a sequel to a film you did twelve years ago. Is it a sign of success, a sign of failure, or a sign of selling out? In the case of writer/director Kevin Smith, I'd say it's a case of all three, and it's that sort of limbo that's probably the most disturbing.
Obviously, if you're a director and you even get to make a sequel, that's some kind of success. Hell, at the very least, it means you made a second movie, which is more than most people can say. However, seeing as Smith said after "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back" that he probably wasn't going to revisit the characters again, the appearance of "Clerks II" suggests some kind of failure. So, I ask, why'd he do it?
Well, like President Clinton explaining why he stuck a cigar in Monica Lewinsky's snatch, he did it "because he could." He did it because there was nothing better to do. Maybe he did it because he had no other choice. Given the bomb that was "Jersey Girl" and his appearance in the upcoming Jennifer Garner film "Catch and Release" in an acting role, Kevin Smith may be transitioning from director to actor because his director gigs are drying up. To make matters worse, the "Catch and Release" trailers suggest he's playing the prototypical "funny, fat best friend." Is there anything more humiliating?
Let's face it: When it's twelve years later and you're doing the same thing artistically that you were doing twelve years ago, something isn't working. You may have to face the fact that your success was one note. When you take some kind of warped pride in having your wife flash her tits on screen, there's something wrong.
Ironically, this idea isn't so far off from what's actually happening in the film as both Dante Hicks (Brian O'Halloran) and Randal Graves (Jeff Anderson) are stuck in a similar artistic funk as Smith. They're both doing the same thing too. While one might suggest that earning minimum wage working in a convenience store and directing movies are two different things, actually they're both psychically about the same. It's a rut they all share.
Even though the Quick Stop burns down, Dante and Randal take jobs working in fast food. Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Kevin Smith) are still standing around doing nothing. Dante is about to get married and leave New Jersey, but realizes he's in love with his manager (Rosario Dawson). There are the typical crude jokes, and for about the first half of the film it appears "Clerks II" is nothing more than creative regurgitation. Then Smith essentially gets weepy, realizing that, in fact, his creativity is in question. So he attempts to make a point. That point has something to do with being yourself and following your true path and exactly the kind of point one might expect from a film about guys who are circling the drain of life.
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