Director: Kevin Smith
Okay, pop quiz: You've just directed a critically acclaimed, low-budget independent movie about a bunch of slackers that hang out at a convenience store. You want to go ahead and start work on another movie. What do you do? If you said, "I'd make a movie about a bunch of slackers that hang out at a mall," a winner is you! That's exactly what Kevin Smith did following the success of Clerks. Let's get to the review...
When slacker twenty-something T.S. Quint (Jeremy London) is dumped by his girlfriend Brandi (Claire Forlani), he turns to the only person he can for help: fellow slacker Brodie Bruce (Jason Lee). Having been dumped by his girlfriend Rene (Shannon Doherty) earlier in the morning, Brodie can empathize with his friend's plight. He suggests that they can deal with their loss by spending a day at the local mall. Along the way, they encounter an odd cast of characters, including Willam (Ethan Suplee), a dim-witted guy obsessed with a Magic Eye picture; Gwen (Joey Lauren Adams), one of T.S.'s ex-girlfriends; Tricia (Renée Humphrey), a 15-year-old girl writing a book on her extensive sexual experiences; a topless fortune teller from the nearby flea market (Prescilla Barnes), and bad boys Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Kevin Smith). Eventually, T.S. and Brodie decide to win back their significant others while embarrassing their respective enemies, Brandi's father (Michael Rooker) and a fashion store clerk (Ben Affleck).
Sure, critics and theatrical audiences didn't care much for Mallrats, but that doesn't make it a bad movie. Actually, Mallrats is pretty funny if you give it a chance. While it may not have the same feel as Clerks, it still has the same wit and charm. Smith's knack for writing humorous and intelligent dialogue is once again apparent. With the larger cast, the comedy more fast paced, and at times is almost funnier than Clerks. Once again, the cast is extremely talented, holding the viewer even during what would seem like the most boring stretches of dialogue. Jason Lee is the best example of that, stealing every scene he's in. All of the scenes featuring Jay and Silent Bob are also really fun. Even if they go from drug dealers in Clerks to a simply mischievous duo in Mallrats, they still make a fun on-screen team.
It's sad that a movie as fun and entertaining as Mallrats is more cult classic than mainstream hit. The black sheep of the Askewniverse movies, it certainly fits the "teen sex comedy" mold of movies like Porky's (oddly enough, the producers called Mallrats "a smart Porky's") and the American Pie trilogy, yet can stand alone without being compared to them. Overall, despite a few times where it just tries too hard to be funny and falls flat, I'll give Mallrats three and a half stars. It's not quite up to Clerks material, but it's still great and still funny, no matter what any critic tells you. Check it out.
Final Rating: ***½