The "sophmore jinx" hit hard for this second film by Kevin Smith, whose debut Clerks
transcended the limits of its setting and budget to become memorably funny and a cult classic. (Smith followed Mallrats
with the wonderful Chasing Amy
, only to be cursed again with the appalling Dogma
. Clearly he's settling into the same one-off rhythm that afflicts the Star Trek
movies.) A ramshackle comedy set in a mall, Mallrats
follows several storylines involving lovers, enemies, friends, goofballs, and Smith's own character "Silent Bob", who also appeared in all the other Smith films. A heavy self-consciousness weighs on everything, as if Smith forgot how to make obscenity funny instead of tedious. Still, it's nice to see some of the director's film family on screen, among them Ben Affleck before he was famous, Jason Lee and Joey Lauren Adams. --Sally Chatsworth
Kevin Smith's follow-up to 'Clerks', his hugely successful no-budget debut, flopped at the box office, but became a sleeper hit after its video release. When Brodie and T.S. are dumped by their girlfriends, they take to hanging around the food court of the local shopping mall. They then hit upon a scheme to win back their lost loves, using two delinquents, Silent Bob (Kevin Smith himself) and Jay.