I have to admit that, once again, I entered a new Kevin Smith movie with somewhat low expectations but, as we returned to the Quick Stop convenience store for Clerks 3, nearly 30 years on from the original Clerks, and My Chemical Romance’s Welcome To The Black Parade blasted from the speakers my expectations jumped.
Picking up some 15 years or so on from Clerks 2 we find Dante (Brian O’Halloran) and Randall (Jeff Anderson) back behind the counter of the store, which they now own, while Jay (Jason Mewes) & Silent Bob (Smith) are proprietors of the former video store next door selling their usual wares in a more legal context (though it’s unclear Jay has actually realised this is the case).
Compared to the original film the plot here is more conventional, following our two heroes (or one hero and one anti-hero) as they deal, in their unique way, with issues of middle age which really get kicked off when Randall suffers a near fatal heart attack while arguing about Christ emblazoned Kites with Elias (Trevor Fehrman, returning from the second movie and now backed up by the excellently named Blockchain Coltrane played by Austin Zajur).
From there things become exceptionally meta textual and post modern as Randall embarks on making a film of his life with many aspects bearing quite a resemblance to the films we’ve already seen.
Through this we get a lot of cameos from past members of Smith’s company ranging from the actors from the first movie to a brilliant turn from Ben Affleck as ‘Boston John’.
While this might all be entertaining enough what Smith does with this all, once again, is find the heart of the thing in an almost entirely unexpected way that manages to both find a message and strike home more than what, to outward appearances looks like another stoner comedy, really should – and I’m sure this is something that will be even more relevant for me in a few years as I approach the age of the characters here.
Much like the original the whole thing feels slightly more lo-fi than Smith’s other recent work, even if it is in colour and clearly produced in higher definition, and again the soundtrack is an absolute belter combining 90s pop punk with mid 2000’s emo and some more recent stuff too to really capture a mood.
This all makes Clerks III a more than fitting addition to the trilogy and, not wishing to include a spoiler, it feels like the end for this particular series in a way that really found some deeper meaning thst I’m pretty sure no one would have even imaged, let alone expected, back in 1994.
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