Making a film sequel to a comedy is like performing heart surgery while blindfolded. In 1994, Kevin Smith struck the world with his debut, Clerks, a black and white, minimalistic and very profane indie, not to mention one of the best comedies ever made. 12 years later, he brings everyone's favorite slackers back, with hilarious results.
Things have changed over the years, despite the apparently normal opening sequence: still in black and white, it sees Dante Hicks (Brian O'Halloran) getting ready for a new day of work. Then comes the shocking discovery: the Quick Stop store is on fire! From that point on, the film is in color, as it chronicles Dante's last day working at Mooby's (a fictional McDonald's-like place). You see, he's moving to Florida with his fiancée, Emma (Jennifer Schwalbach, the director's wife), which implies leaving his boss Becky (Rosario Dawson) and nerdy co-worker Elias (Trevor Fehrman) alone with the consistently rude Randal Graves (Jeff Anderson). Oh, and Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Smith), quite simply two of the best comedy characters ever, still hanging outside the store doing nothing. But last day doesn't mean it's any different form other days: as usual, Dante and Randal do anything except work, whether it's discussing racial insults or receiving unexpected visits from old high school mates (Jason Lee in a cracking cameo). Same situations, different movie, then?
Not quite, as Clerks II has one special thing that was missing back in 1994: sentiment. This time the characters have feelings, even Randal who, despite refusing to admit it, is going to miss his friend (as the beautiful, Butch Cassidy-referencing go-kart sequence shows). As for Dante, his scenes with Becky are the most touching material Smith has ever shot, thanks to brilliant dialogue and a great performance from Dawson.
This new ingredient, however, doesn't mean the director has forgotten what made the first movie so great: the outrageous, so-filthy-you-won't-let-your-mom-see-it humor. Moving it may be, but fundamentally Clerks II is exactly the same as the original: extremely funny and incredibly foul-mouthed. The jokes are relentlessly crude, but the actors'comic timing (particularly Jeff Anderson's) ensures viewers will keep laughing long after the end credits have stopped rolling.