Clerks 3; Grade: B-
Clerks 3 reunites your favorite Quick Stop clerks Randal (Jeff Anderson) and Dante (Brian O’Halloran). Randal abruptly passes out while on the job, as he almost near dies of a Heart Attack. As Randal’s life flashes right before his eyes, he realizes the life he has lived never amount to much of anything. The solution?! Randal decides to go forward with making a film based off his life at the convenient store, as there is plenty of unique stories to tell during his experience at Quick Stop.
Clerks was Kevin Smith’s debut film, as ever since then his film career has took off to much success. I loved both Clerks films, I feel they’re both great comedy films that deliver entertaining unique characters, while also delivering quality humor as well. Most fans of Kevin Smith and of course fans of the Clerks franchise have been hoping for a third Clerks film, as sixteen years later… We finally got it!
Considering the average quality we received from The Jay and Silent Bob Reboot film: I had limited expectations for Clerks 3. Not only do you doubt if these actors reviving their characters in which they haven’t played in 16 years still have anything left in the tank, but you also doubt Kevin Smith as he hasn’t made anything worth wild in years. I would say Clerks 3 though quality wise isn’t on the greatness the two Clerks films were on, however… It felt like a cool sweet conclusion to the Clerks franchise, while actually being a bit better than The Jay and Silent Bob Reboot.
The story being told surprisingly enough felt like an actual realistic working narrative, involving a couple of everyday convenient store clerks, whom are nothing more than your neighborhood convenient store clerks. You can say Randal and Dante lived a fairly average life helming a convenient store for so long, however when you’re dealt with a near death experience as you look back on your life as a whole… There is a sense of great unfulfillment, as your life has never experience life outside your home and your routine job.
I feel many viewers whom have lived in a small town can heavily relate to a storyline like this: Sure the life they live isn’t necessary awful, however you wish you’ve done more with your life. I appreciate Kevin Smith for continuing to bring realism to these films, I did feared he would bring a whacky bizarre narrative for this third film, but he stood to his roots like a Clerks film should be made.
The whole making a film ordeal that Randal has was effectively dorky. It does bring charm and likeness to the table, I thought the whole casting ordeal was funny as the inexperienced filmmakers just decided fuck it let’s play ourselves in our own movie. The sequences throughout were awkward yet effective: I mean when you have people that have 0 clue how to make a film or anyone know how to do just about anything, you’re going to experience a great deal of problems and such as the way the film handles it was spot on especially in humor or in the crucial frustrating moments.
The film does surprisingly showcase a dark emotional side were not used to seeing in these films, especially towards our main character Dante. I felt the sequences where Dante expresses a great deal of trauma, grief, and despair towards the passing of his soon to be wife was emotionally riveting, helmed by a very convincing performance by Brian O’Halloran as well. You feel the emotional turmoil considering the fact his wife was literally the main highlight of his life, more so his existence as like said he’s nothing more than a convenient store owner living in a small town, as what else is there to turn to in terms of excitement without the love of your life?! I enjoyed this turn of direction by Kevin Smith, again very relatable content to those whom suffer a tragic loss of losing a loved one, in which the loved one meant the WORLD to them.
The comedy material at hand is a hit or miss me for me throughout the film. There’s effective jokes here and there that at least delivered quality chuckles, maybe one laugh out moment I can recall. However there are jokes in which didn’t really hit for me much at all, it’s not quite on the same consistency as the other Clerks films in terms of humor.
The Cinematography is easily the worst looking visual film compared to the past two films, as it felt like walking into a porno set. I understand Kevin Smith continues to poke fun at how the film looks visually, by consistently throwing the same exact “Oh you’re making a porno joke” about twenty times throughout the duration of the film, however doesn’t feel much of a excuse considering the past two films look much better in comparison.
The conclusion of the film felt like a hit but unfortunately a miss at the same time. I felt the whole ending dealing with a emotionally riveting sequence between Randal and Dante partaking the film, was an ultimately touching saddening sequence not only for our beloved characters, but more so fans of Clerks in general. That whole sequence really struck a chord in me and probably fans of these films, I felt it should’ve cut to black what shortly transpires a couple minutes later bringing a shocking strong ending.
But the film however: Takes a turn to create an upbeat comedic tone to conclude the film, as I just wasn’t feeling it at all. It’s hard to feel satisfied considering the past sequence was much stronger, so when you partake in a comedic gag that involves an NFT suddenly blowing up… You feel underwhelmed and at question why couldn’t the past sequence be the ending instead?! I understand this choice made by Smith, you want to go out on a happy funny note for the fans, but for me it didn’t work.
For what Clerks 3 was: It felt like a cool little cute way to conclude a beloved comedic franchise, that was helm by a simple idea by Kevin Smith that really turn his whole life around for the better. Best part for me: Silent Bob (Kevin Smith) pretty much explaining the visual style and concept of the making of Clerks… That was cool to have the creator of Clerks, pretty much have a sit down moment with the fans, explaining his beloved creation as how it was made.
Overall, Clerks 3 was cool. I recommend checking this one out, it’s a nice funny little movie. -Mitch Smietana