Tuesday, July 25, 2006

ONCE MORE, WITH FEELING: What does it meant to still be a clerk, a decade later, and why would a director still make movies about them? These are the questions which Clerks II: The Clerkening seeks to answer, and it does so in surprisingly entertaining fashion.

Let me get the negatives out of the way first: Kevin Smith should never cast his wife in another movie. Nobody else does, and there's a reason. And he still doesn't know how to create a realistic female character -- they're all saints or bitches, with the exception of the title character in Chasing Amy. And Smith still doesn't know what to do with a camera.

But with a pen, writing male dialogue and with the pop culture references . . . he has his moments, and many of them are quite good. Exuberant, even. I will not spoil them here.

What really saves the movie is the third act, because it makes a pivot towards the questions I alluded to above, and handles them in a way that's both true to the characters and, much like Shyamalan attempts in Lady in the Water, explains what motivates Smith as a writer-director after the failure of Jersey Girl.

Also, there's a donkey.

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