Although Kevin Smith intended to end his View Askewniverse series with Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, he was always open to the possibility of making more. After the failure that was Jersey Girl, Smith reopened the Askewniverse to properly end the series with Clerks 2.
As Dante (Brian O’Halloran) is about to open the Quick Stop store for another long day at work, he is shocked to find it in a blaze. How could this have happened? Well he soon finds out that the blame falls on his co-worker Randal (Jeff Anderson) for leaving the coffee pot on after closing. Now they are forced to find new jobs, and wind up at a Mooby’s Restaurant. Dante is soon to be married to his fiancé Emma Bunting (Jennifer Schwalbach) and moving to Florida the next day, so Randal has to give his best friend the best going away present ever at the expense of their boss, Becky (Rosario Dawson), who has her own plans when it comes to Dante. All this is done over the watchful eyes of Jay and Silent Bob who occasionally put in their two sense or wreak their own havoc.
When fans of Clerks found out that there was going to be a sequel, many were very upset even though they haven’t even gave the film a chance at that point. To be honest, I was also a little nervous before popping in Clerks 2 just because of how fantastic the original was. It seems like a very difficult act to follow, and after how ok Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back was, I wasn’t as confident in this one.
To my pleasant surprise, I find it easy to rank Clerks 2 up there with the original. It still hasn’t lost it’s irreverent flair that made it so fantastic. There are jokes ranging from the Holocaust to beastiality. The slapstick humor that invaded Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back is gone, which leaves room for Smith’s use of brilliantly clever dialogue that mirrors real life and his talent for creating ridiculous situations.
Seeing the original characters again for one last hoorah was a little sad, but awesome at the same time. Throughout the films in the Askewniverse, we’ve heard references and briefly seen Dante and Randal, but we never got to spend a lot of time with them. They are the original characters, and I find them the most interesting so another slacker adventure with them was a must. Jay and Silent Bob are back as well and as crazy as ever. Since they both are clean of drugs (yet, still selling them) they have to do their best to keep themselves occupied to avoid relapse. This is a clever and surprising twist on these beloved characters.
That’s what has always made these characters so great. They are so relatable. I work in retail and love talking about movies and annoying customers, although I do like to think I work a little harder than Dante and Randal. But still, seeing them just trying to get through the day is so satisfying. This time around, Kevin Smith has added a new level of maturity to the characters. They still are mostly up to no good, but they’re beginning to realize that they need to find a set path in their life. They also deal with changing friendships as adults, which may be easier the younger you are. There is a great dramatic monologue given at the end which is surprisingly impacting.
In the end, Kevin Smith has created a foul mouthed gem with Clerks 2. You can tell that Smith treats these characters with a special kind of respect and works hard in creating a story arc that we can all believe. This is a fitting end to the Askewniverse, leaving us with a newfound knowledge of Dante, Randal, and Jay and Silent Bob. The characters live on without our eyes watching, and I even caught myself thinking about what these guys would be up to today. If you love Clerks, then Clerks 2 is a must see.