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Scott Ventura >> Movie Commentary >> May 2000 >> Clerks


Movie Commentary by Scott Ventura


Scott's Rating:
3 / 5
Times Seen:
Viewing Date:
May 2000
IMDB Name:
Clerks (1994)
Kevin Smith
MPAA Rating:
R on appeal for extensive use of extremely explicit sex-related dialogue.

Quik Stop

Kevin Smith became something of an overnight sensation after writing and directing Clerks. It's a day-in-the-life story shot on grainy black-and-white film in a real life convenience store and a real life video rental store. Clerks is packed with cartoony characters who mostly do high-school level acting jobs, but since the highlight of the movie is the dialogue, it doesn't matter much. Actually, the story as a whole probably wouldn't work with better actors because this way you sense there is great mischief at work. Somebody got away with something by making a movie this crass and silly, and it lowers the defenses. Even the camera work in the car on the way to the funeral, with its rapid swish-pans, feels amateur enough to make you feel guilty for complaining about it.

I find it hard to believe that Smith went very far to find his cast. Most of them are mediocre at best, and there are even scenes where they seem to be cheating. There's one bit with Brian O'Halloran and Jeff Anderson in a very long shot with heavy dialogue. Both are reading periodicals, and I'm tempted to guess that their delivery is flat because they're reading their lines. But during the rest of the movie, their's are easily the most credible performances. Jason Mewes has refined his technique somewhat in the time since, now that Jay and Silent Bob are appearing in non-Smith movies. Still, the raunch factor and the homemade factor overcome most of the defficiencies in casting.

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