out of Five
Running time: 97
Despite a handful of great jokes, this is ultimately disappointing – it's badly plotted, badly acted and occasionally downright embarrassing.
What's it all about?
Clerks II is Kevin Smith's long-awaited sequel to his 1994 debut, Clerks. When the Quickstop burns down, Dante (Brian O'Halloran) and Randal (Jeff Anderson) both get jobs at Mooby Burger, where Dante moons over his boss, Becky (Rosario Dawson) and Randal torments fellow employee Elias (Trevor Fehrman), a nerdy Lord Of The Rings obsessive.
The majority of the film takes place on Dante's last day at work, before he leaves for Florida with his fiancee (Jennifer Schwalbach).
Will he realise his true feelings in time? Will Randal's revolting send-off go according to plan? And what's up with Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Smith), anyway?
The film's biggest problem is that Brian O'Halloran is a terrible actor. This didn't seem to matter so much in Clerks but it's painfully obvious here, with the result that his emotional, big speech-type scenes don't work at all. Schwalbach (Smith's real-life wife) is, if anything, even worse and her scenes are actually painful to watch.
In addition, it's hard to care about Dante and Randal because they're both such losers – at least when they were in their 20s there was a measure of hope. As such, the plot feels contrived and unconvincing, while some of the scenes (eg Becky teaching Dante to dance) are badly directed and downright embarrassing.
That said, there are a handful of great jokes and some of the gags (eg an extended riff on Lord of the Rings) recapture the flavour of the original film. There are also some amusing cameos by the likes of Jason Lee and Ben Affleck, whilst Jay and Silent Bob provide their scene-stealing running commentary to winning effect.
In short, Clerks II has its moments, but it's ultimately disappointing, thanks to a shoddy script, some bad acting and an over-reliance on puerile humour.