After the success with Clerks, Kevin Smith got a deal with Universal Studios to write and direct a follow up film. So how could this film hold up to that stature? Kevin Smith wanted this to be a wacky romantic comedy being set in the mall and has a better romantic focus than Dante Hick’s love life with Veronica and Caitlin. He was aiming for mainstream success by getting big names to be in this movie and have better budget to do all the stuff that he couldn’t do in Clerks. Of course the general public is a sucker for any kind of movie that does this sort of thing, but Kevin Smith wanted to do his own twist and style upon its release. So let’s see how he did with Mallrats.
Mallrats was an entirely different take because it doesn’t have the spirit or the same tone as to Clerks does. Now Kevin Smith is able to make a picture in color, have variations with camera angles to stop make it look like a still camera shot, and also get better editing. The film is based on two best friends who both, at the same time, are having trouble with each of their girlfriends. They are Brodie Bruce (Jason Lee) and T.S. Quint (Jeremy London) and these two men tried to regain the affection of their girlfriends… in the mall. Brodie lost his girl because she thought he wasn’t enough of a man and kept ignoring her when he wants to play video games and Brandi Svenning (T.S.’s girlfriend) broke up with T.S. because he was too much of a control-freak that reminded her of her father. Since T.S. was feeling so bad at the break-up he heard that Brandi was going to be on a live gameshow called Truth or Date, being produced by her Father, and it was going to be seen live on television at the mall. So T.S. and Brodie tries to stop Brandi from doing this and win her affection for T.S.
They are also bumped into the drug dealing duo Jay and Silent Bob seen from Clerks. Jay and Silent Bob are as funny as before having Jay swearing like before and Silent Bob does his funny expressions without saying a word. Their role in the movie is that T.S. and Brodie hired them to try and stop the show from happening which became the subplot of the film of various situations of failed attempts to ruin the show. However there’s another subplot where Silent Bob tries to develop telekinesis after seeing the force from the Star Wars movies. There’s so much going on at once in this film due to the fact that there are so many characters doing something in this mall. The big focus on the comedy here is the cartoon slap-stick. This was a huge downgrade from Clerks that had original comedy and a hard edge to it, Mallrats just had a unrealistic tone which lost the down-to-Earth feel.
However I’ll give Kevin Smith this, at least this is done from an original concept, not a parody movie that are so over-the-top that its embarrassing to watch. There’s also plenty of comic book references where the opening credits used characters of the movie as comic books. It’s because both of the reasons why Kevin Smith is a fan of comics and Stan Lee is in this film as a special guest. Mallrats has plenty of sex jokes (like a three nippled fortune teller), Jay and Silent Bob fighting the easter bunny, and plenty of failed attempts to destroy the gameshow.
Almost everything else just didn’t make me laugh as much. Most of the time we’re just watching Brodie and T.S. seeing each other’s girlfriend’s life after their relationship with them and how to improve to be better boyfriends, talk about comic books, and acting crazy in the mall causing mayhem. I really didn’t find any sense of urge or large consequences due to the fact there’s not a serious tone when making this film. Plus it’s not really helping because of the fact that we’re not interested in seeing T.S. and Brodie get back with their girlfriends because Brodie and his ex has nothing in common. I really wasn’t looking forward to see a generic happy ending but I will have to admit that final scene in the movie where Truth or Date gameshow started was a bit of a surprise. I won’t say that this film was at all pointless because it got Ben Affleck to be a big name today and Kevin Smith has made himself a bigger name in the movie making industry. So this film actually did made a lot of opportunities upon its release and who knows where would Smith and Afflict be if they didn’t make this movie. Sadly, the second film of the View Askewniverse didn’t shine as well for me.
Things I like
- Jay and Silent Bob played a bigger role
- The gameshow’s ending was pretty good
Things I dislike
- A lot of jokes weren’t funny
- Couldn’t care for the romance between the main characters and their ex’s
- Unrealistic and cartoony gags that lost its edge
The Top Lister’s movie score… 2 1/2 out of 5