Sequel to Kevin Smith's 1994 low-budget indie hit, 'Clerks'. Ten years ago, best friends Dante Hicks (Brian O'Halloran) and Randal Graves (Jeff Anderson) were New Jersey mini-mall clerks still slacking off together in their early twenties. A decade on, a calamity at Dante and Randall's shops sends them looking for new horizons - but they ultimately settle at Mooby's, a Disney-McDonald's-style fast-food empire. While Dante prepares to move to Florida and marry Emma (Jennifer Schwalbach), Randal harasses geeky 'Funployee of the Month' Elias (Trevor Fehrman), a dweeb who worships 'The Transformers' and believes, much to Randal's consternation, that 'The Lord of the Rings' is superior to 'Star Wars'. Also back are Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Smith), who contribute their own warped world view of sex, drugs, and rock and roll.
Kevin Smith knows his audience, so he's mostly indulging his fans with the abundance of Clerks II
's DVD extras. On disc 1, three separate commentaries cover the entirety of Clerks II
's production, beginning with Smith, producer Scott Mosier, and original Clerks
director of photography David Klein talking about Clerks II
's technical details, focusing on Klein's approach to the film's desaturated colour palette, the benefits of digital color manipulation, and other aspects of the DP's craft. It's informative material for anyone who's curious about the many decisions that go into any film's overall look and feel. Smith and Mosier return for the cast commentary, which quickly devolves into a casual free-for-all with Jason Mewes, Jeff Anderson, Brian O'Halloran, Trevor Fehrman, and Jennifer Schwalbach candidly riffing on varied topics including reluctance or enthusiasm in reprising their Clerks
roles, on-set romance (Mewes and Fehrman got some), working with Dawson (who was unavailable when the commentary was recorded), and their general happiness with the film. Smith, Mosier, and Anderson also provide a podcast commentary that's more focused, but mostly redundant if you've listened to the other two. With an introduction by Smith and Mosier, over 30 minutes of deleted scenes are OK but not great, with some nice character interplay between Anderson and O'Halloran, and some mostly-improvisational riffing from stand-up comedians Wanda Sykes and Earthquake in extended takes from their "Mooby's" scene. "A Closer Look at Interspecies Erotica" is a good-natured featurette about Zak "Sexy Stud" Knutson, who gamely made movie history with his leather-clad performance in the infamous "donkey-show" scene.
Mosier and Smith (who obsessively monitors his fans and critics on the Internet) also provide introductions to the features on disc 2, starting with "Back to the Well," a comprehensive 90-minute "making of' documentary that's almost as fun as the movie itself. "How Movies Are Made" is another name for "Blooper Reel," with nearly 30 minutes of flubs, goofs, and crack-ups--enjoyable enough for a quick look, but mostly a waste of time. The 50-minute compilation of "Train Wrecks" (or video production diaries) is more worthwhile, covering such topics as crewmember intros (with Mewes), Smith's early feedback screening (in December 2005) for friends Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino, and the eight-minute standing ovation that Clerks II received at the 2006 Cannes film festival. All in all, these bonus features function as a video scrapbook for Clerks II's cast and crew, revealing a happy shoot that led, to the relief and delight of everyone involved, to a happy ending of critical and box-office success. The uninitiated should be forewarned that most of these features are just as lewd and crude as Clerks II itself, but devotees of the View Askewniverse wouldn't have it any other way. --Jeff Shannon