directed by Kevin Smith
(View Askew, 1994)

I never would have dreamed of watching Clerks. But then I saw Dogma. Intrigued by filmmaker Kevin Smith, I rented Chasing Amy. Going back to the beginning for Clerks was inevitable.

Gotta love the way these things work.

Clerks doesn't have much action, special effects, deep meaningful philosophies, color or, hell, even a plot. Instead, it's a series of fairly unconnected vignettes in a day in the life of two, yes, you guessed it, clerks.

Dante (Brian O'Halloran) is the conscientious clerk at the Quick Stop mini-mart. Randal (Jeff Anderson) is the slacker clerk at the video store next door, although he doesn't actually spend much time there. Veronica (Marilyn Ghigliotti) is Dante's girlfriend, who visits a lot, goes to a nearby college and makes lasagna. Caitlin (Lisa Spoonauer) is Dante's once and future girlfriend, Veronica notwithstanding.

During the course of the movie we hear their views on smoking, the chewing gum industry, male and female roles in sex (and oral sex), prices ending in 9, behavior vs. environment and the destruction of the second Death Star. We also join them as they deal with irate customers, an egg perfectionist, a pushy personal trainer, an incontinent but aroused senior citizen, a wake and a rooftop hockey game.

Meanwhile, Jay and Silent Bob (Jason Mewes and director Kevin Smith) hang out a lot outside. That's pretty much it, they hang out. Jay dances a bit. Silent Bob dances, too.

OK, let's be honest here. The acting isn't entirely sterling all the way through. Yeah, Dante and Randal are fun to watch, and some of the customers are good, but a lot of lines are delivered poorly. But Clerks is a fun flick nonetheless. This slice of life is a pleasant way to spend 90 minutes as their lives unfold around them. If nothing else, you can be grateful it's not your life on film.

Besides, you gotta admire a movie with a cat named Lenin's Tomb.

[ by Tom Knapp ]

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