Overall, Clerks II is not a bad movie and there are a bunch of legitimately funny scenes. Plus, there' a full five minutes of Rosario Dawson' tits bouncing up and down as she dances to The Jackson Five, which is cool. But the inherent problem with Clerks II is that, even though it' supposed to be an update of the charmingly crappy, stark filmmaking of the B&W original, Smith tried way too hard to inject "shocking" gags and pop culture references in a blatant attempt to demonstrate that he's still relevant. No matter how hard Clerks II tries to make us laugh, it never stops being a little bit sad.

The pesky thing about Kevin Smith is that, although he' a good writer, he's just a horrible filmmaker. The premise of Clerks II revolves around the idea that 10 years after the original, the jobs still suck and pussy is still funny. When the Quick Stop burns down, Dante (Brian O'Halloran) and Randal (Jeff Anderson) start working at a crappy fast food place with a socially stunted 19-year-old Jesus freak named Elias and their super-hot boss, Becky (Rosario Dawson). Dante--who' now an ultra-creepy fatso, by the way--has somehow become engaged to a shrill, overbearing and aged "popular girl" (Smith' real life wife). Everything seems to be going right with Dante--until he fucks his boss on a prep table and knocks her up. Moral dilemmas and nail biting abound!

And things just aren't the same after those ten years. For instance, Randal no longer really heckles customers with as much gusto as his past self, instead focusing his energy on leaving mean comments on someone' BLOG. Is he fucking serious? Mean comments on blogs? What, does Dante have a LiveJournal, too? If he does, we'd like to know about it. It' also not surprising that the few times the movie actually shines are when the characters are making references to other (read: better) movies like Lord of the Rings, Silence of the Lambs and even the upcoming Transformers flick. It' like Smith threw his hands up in despair and said, "Well, since I can't think of any way to make my own shit funny, I'll just use filler from other movies!"

It' kind of sad when a movie' most likeable and well acted character is an ultra religious, repressed teenage burger flipper. And it doesn't help that Dante delivers his lines like he' a high school kid in an amateur YouTube video. And the best they could do with cameo appearances was My Name is Earl's Jason Lee and Ben Affleck sporting a seriously gay mustache?

Not to mention the annoyingly quick erosion of progressive feminism that occurs. Becky, initially, is this hot, badass chick who openly fucks whoever she wants--Dante included--and doesn't want to be tied down by a romantic, monogamous relationship. But by the end of the movie, when she' all knocked up, it' like she' a step away from crocheting sweaters while eating bon-bons and reading Cat Fancy Magazine. Score one for independent women everywhere!

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And yes, the donkey sex bit that made Joel Siegel walk out spewing obscenities because he was apparently so sexually uncomfortable (he probably popped a really embarrassing boner) was pretty funny, but it' nothing that would shock anyone who' ever watched cable television before in their lives. And honestly, if the peak of your movie is riding on bestiality (literally), it' probably a good indication that you should probably go back to the drawing board and work on your material, or just scrap it all and become a recluse seaman and spend the rest of your days out at sea and for all our sakes stop making mediocre movies about New fucking Jersey.
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Trying to make Clerks II a movie in color with modern references and a seriously shitty 1990s alt-rock soundtrack (including Alanis Morisette and motherfucking Soul Asylum--WE KID YOU NOT) is a lot like when one of those high school goth kids suddenly starts wearing Abercrombie and backwards baseball caps. It' awkward and laughable, and inside you know it' the same kid who used to come to school dressed up like a juggalo from ICP and and cried while writing shitty poetry about bats. The film's saddest moment comes at the end of the credits, when, in a last attempt to scream, "I'm popular!" Smith decides to slowly roll a ludicrously long list of all of the MySpace users that added Clerks II as a "friend." If that' not pathetic, we don't know what is.
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