Donkey show

Clerks II

Rated 3.0

The rating system being the arbitrary beast that it is (say, if a movie solidly delivers what its target market demands, and yet fails to deliver outside of that niche, does it get a happy or sad popcorn box?), fans of Kevin Smith might want to knock the box up a notch, non-fans one down.

Ten years into the mythos, Dante (Brian O’Halloran) arrives to find the Jersey ‘burb Quick Stop in flames. Without the hamster wheel they called their job for the past decade, he and his foulmouthed, seemingly sociopathic sidekick Randal (Jeff Anderson) shift a few blocks over to work at the friendly neighborhood fast food joint as Dante contemplates his imminent marriage to his Ann Coulter-lite fiancée.

Absurdly complicating matters is Dante’s recurring drama of having to choose between two lovers, the absurdity being that the other woman is his manager, the all-around ideal Becky (Rosario Dawson turning in an exceptionally winning performance, for a change). All the expected members of Smith’s View Askew universe show up as former cast members drop by for a cameo and a shake and humorous riffs on pop culture ensue. And there’s a dance number. And a donkey sex act … oh, sorry … “interspecies erotica.”

Generally, Clerks II comes across as a genially loose update of its antecedent—fun for the faithful, but unlikely to win new converts to Smith’s penchant for presenting people sitting around being snarky. But if you’re of that headspace, Clerks II is consistently amusing and even manages to deliver some emotional heft.

As far as the aforementioned interspecies erotica scene that infamously impelled ABC reviewer Joel Siegel to finally—after 30 years of reviewing movies—hit a moment too personally distressful for him to maintain professional decorum, I have to wonder what kept him going through movies like Freddy Got Fingered.