Clerks II

Clerks II is the 2006 sequel to Kevin Smith's 1994 movie Clerks, and his sixth feature film to be set in the View Askewniverse. Its original title was Clerks II: The Passion Of The Clerks, a spoof of Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ. The subtitle was removed prior to the general release of the film.

The film was released on July 21, 2006; it screened out of competition at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival where it enjoyed an eight-minute standing ovation. It also won the Audience Award at the 2006 Edinburgh International Film Festival.

The film opened in 2,150 theaters and grossed $10,061,132 domestically in its first weekend. As of September 8, 2006 the film has grossed $24,024,356.

In the prologue, Randal Graves leaves the coffee pot warmer on, burning down the Quick Stop convenience store where he and Dante Hicks worked for over a decade. The film them jumps ahead approximately one year, to find them working at a Mooby's fast food restaurant. Dante is planning to leave his minimum wage lifestyle in favor of a family life in Florida with his domineering fiancée Emma (Jennifer Schwalbach Smith), whose father will even provide them with a house to live in and a car wash to run. Jay and Silent Bob are now drug-free (to reflect Jason Mewes' new-found sobriety) after having been busted and put on probation, which means that they must now undergo drug testing. However, they still deal marijuana, and are otherwise still up to their usual antics, following Dante and Randal from the Quick Stop to Mooby's. Dante is also close to their boss, a laid back free spirit named Becky (Rosario Dawson), a rapport that Randal denigrates.

Due to the snide remarks of an old high school nemesis turned internet millionaire, Lance Dowds (Jason Lee), Randal (Jeff Anderson) realizes he is not as happy with his position in life as he had thought, and is scared, both at the prospect of never amounting to something, and at the idea of losing Dante. He quietly shrugs off this mid-life crisis throughout the film, but not without causing some trouble of his own in the store. 19-year-old Elias, a Lord of the Rings/Transformers geek and isolated Christian virgin, works at Mooby's with Dante and Randal, and is frequently subjected to their brand of social abuse.

Becky takes Dante onto the roof and has Jay and Silent Bob play The Jackson 5 on their boom box so she can teach him how to dance for his wedding. At the end of the song, Becky reveals to Dante that she is pregnant with his child. It is revealed that they had sex in the restaurant weeks ago. She tells him that she will keep the baby, but will not ruin his upcoming marriage by telling Emma, leaving Dante free to pursue his own life in Florida. Anticipating Dante's move there, Randal throws Dante a going away party, which includes "Kinky Kelly and the Sexy Stud", an interspecies erotica performance, complete with a fog machine. Dante, arriving at the restaurant, mistakes the fogger for another fire, and calls the fire department. When he discovers that it is not a fire, he watches the show with Randal, Jay, Bob and an increasingly intoxicated and aroused Elias. They are soon horrified to find that Kinky Kelly is the donkey, the person performing with the donkey (The "Sexy Stud") is not a woman but a leather clad, overweight male. Everyone is disgusted at this occurrence except Elias, who masturbates in the corner. Later, the characters become intrigued and critique Kelly's performance.

Becky arrives, and although she is initially shocked at the presence of the performance in her restaurant, she and Dante share a close moment, in which he tells her that he thinks she has feelings for him, and that he feels the same way about her. They kiss, only to be discovered by Emma, who arrives with a cake she baked for Dante. The fire and police departments also arrive at the restaurant, responding to the emergency phone call that Dante made but never cancelled. Dante, Randal, Elias, Jay, Silent Bob, and the "interspecies erotica" performer are taken to jail, where Randal confesses his insecurities and suggests that the duo buy the Quick Stop and RST Video store for themselves. Jay and Silent Bob lend them the money (presumably funds gained from their exploits in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back and from the Bluntman and Chronic comic series for which they were paid likeness rights, as seen in the same) on the condition that they be allowed to loiter in front of the Quick Stop as they did years ago. Dante and Randal also take out a loan.

The closing scenes show Dante and Randal repairing the Quick Stop and hiring Elias to work with them while a visibly pregnant Becky looks on. Dante and Randal reveal an "I assure you, we're re-open!" sign. Finally, Dante and Randal are shown behind the Quick Stop counter. The movie ends with a reverse zoom of Dante and Randal, passing the Milk Maid (Smith's mother) from the first film, as the scene fades from color to the black and white of the original film.

* The name "Snowball" can be seen sprayed on the wall on Quick Stop. This is a reference to the character Willam Black from the first movie, whose nickname, Snowball, referenced a certain sexual maneuver he preferred.
* The opening shots of lights going on at Mooby's and Dante putting coffee in the coffee pot echo the opening shots of the original.
* Randal puts an "I Eat Cock' sign on Elias' "Employee of the Month" sign, which bears a striking resemblance to a similar sign Jay put on the door of the Quick Stop in the first Clerks.
* Dante paints Becky's toenails in the Mooby's office, similar to how he painted Veronica's fingernails in the original film.
* In the dance scene Randal does the same dance on the counter that he does in the first film - The Randall.
* A scene takes place on the roof, as in the first film, though this scene involves characters dancing rather than playing hockey.
* The gang hangs an "I Assure You, We're Re-Open!" sign outside the Quick Stop, a reference to the sign Dante hangs up in the first film.
* As Dante and Randal repair the Quick Stop, Becky is seen atop a stepladder, replacing the same overhead light bulb that Dante replaced in Clerks (when approached by the elderly man).
* Both Walt Flanagan and Grace Smith have cameos in the last scene of the film, reprising their roles from the original film. Walt Flanagan is the first customer seen after they reopen the Quick Stop; Grace Smith plays the "milk maid" character and is seen as the camera zooms out in the final scene.
* During the same reverse zoom, a sign can be seen hanging on a sales rack that reads; "Just because we serve you, doesn't mean we like you!" This is a reference to the "slogan" which appeared in the trailer and on the theatrical poster of the original Clerks, which read; "Just because they serve you, doesn't mean they like you."
* Both end with a Soul Asylum song. Clerks ends with the song "Can't Even Tell" (written for the movie), and the second film ends with "Misery", from Let Your Dim Light Shine. (Soul Asylum's lead singer Dave Pirner also wrote the score for Chasing Amy, which also ends with a Soul Asylum song.)
* Jay's tank top displays the phrase "Got Christ?" underneath an image of the Buddy Christ statue, first seen in Dogma.
* The phrase "Poopy Trim" is spray painted on the the boards covering the charred Quick Stop. This is a phrase that was previously heard in two other View Askewniverse films, Mallrats (by Willam Black) and Dogma (by Rufus)
* At the end of the movie, when Jay and Silent Bob return to their place outside RST Video, Jay is wearing a black hoodie with the words "JUSTICE TLF" (True Love Forever) taped on. In Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Jay falls in love with a girl named Justice.
* When Becky is calling for Jay from the roof, he mistakes her for God. In Dogma, God is a woman.

The film was originally scheduled for a 2005 release, and then a January 2006 release, but the production was pushed back due to other projects and Kevin Smith's involvement in the romantic comedy Catch and Release.

The film was shot on a single set in Buena Park, California, and at the Quick Stop and R.S.T. Video stores in Leonardo, New Jersey, with some exceptions, the most notable being the go-kart scene, which was shot at Speedzone in City of Industry, California.

Smith released production diaries on the Clerks II website. They chronicle the entire making of the film from the first rehearsals all the way through to the final release.

Smith released a Web-only teaser trailer on the Clerks II website on January 9, 2006 and a web-only trailer on April 2, 2006. Smith also released several shorts featuring action figures from his previous films to promote the film.

While the bookend Quick Stop scenes are in black and white (to simulate the original visual style of Clerks), the rest of the film is in color. However, Kevin has stated that much of the film's color was desaturated almost to the point where the film had a similar texture to the first film.

The film was originally planned to be released without an MPAA film rating, in order to avoid receiving an NC-17. Smith has stated "If we put it in front of the ratings board they'd be like, 'You're insane. We have to create a new rating for that.'" He later submitted it, and received an R rating without any edits.

The movie was praised by critics nationwide. As of August 2006, the critics at Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a 63% Tomatometer reading, enough to earn it an overall "fresh" rating. The site's "Cream of the Crop" critics (the subset deemed "popular and notable" by the website) were slightly less positive: their 57% Tomatometer reading translates into an overall rating of "rotten" since it takes a 60% to get a "fresh" rating.

In a review for The New York Times, A.O. Scott notes the following:

What makes “Clerks II” both winning and (somewhat unexpectedly) moving is its fidelity to the original “Clerks” ethic of hanging out, talking trash and refusing all worldly ambition. If anything, the sequel is more defiant in its disdain for the rat race, elevating the white-guy-doing-nothing prerogative from a lifestyle choice to a moral principle.

The conventional romantic-comedy outlines of the story emerge almost casually, and they are camouflaged by the film’s humor, which is gleefully and abrasively obscene. Ms. Dawson, a good sport as well as a nimble actress (her professionalism is really what holds Clerks II together) first appears on screen in the middle of a grossly candid discussion of sexual etiquette, to which she contributes her point of view without blushing or breaking stride. Mr. Smith’s fondness for jokes about excrement, bestiality and related topics is so evidently childish that it is hard to be offended, or even especially provoked, when he tries to test the limits of taste.

Justin Chang's review at Variety called it a "softer, flabbier and considerably higher-budgeted follow-up to Kevin Smith's 1994 indie sensation that nevertheless packs enough riotous exchanges and pungent sexual obscenities to make its 97 minutes pass by with ease." He continued:

Politically incorrect raspberries and the umpteenth appearance of Jay and Silent Bob aside, a gentle feeling of nostalgia pervades this hit-or-miss sequel, which relocates the gang to the ninth circle of fast-food restaurant hell. "Clerks" cultists will need no kicks in the groin to step up to the counter for this second go-round, courtesy of the Weinstein Co.

In addition to all the gags, quips and extended rants about subjects like masturbation, anal-oral contact, bestiality, sex with pickles, and the difference between Anne Frank and Helen Keller, Smith is at his best as a self-implicating satirist of geek culture. The apex is a genuinely inspired debate between Randal and lower-ranking employee Elias (Trevor Fehrman) about the relative merits of Star Wars vs. Lord of the Rings ("They're three movies about walking!"). What's missing is a colorful gallery of customers comparable to those who wandered in and out of the Quick Stop in the original pic. The best Clerks II can do is cough up brief cameos from Smith regulars Ben Affleck and Jason Lee, as well as a typically noisy display of attitude from Wanda Sykes. And of course, drug-dealing, wall-leaning duo Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Smith) are back in the flesh, still contributing nothing to society in mildly amusing fashion.

At an advanced screening for critics, Joel Siegel walked out of the movie approximately 40 minutes in, during a scene where the characters attempt to procure a donkey for sexual purposes. Smith claimed on his own website that Siegel "bellowed" the phrase "Time to go. This is the first movie I've walked out on in thirty fucking years." TV Guide film critic Maitland MacDonagh, who claims to have been sitting next to Siegel, largely confirms Smith's account but insists that Siegel did not curse or "bellow." However, she reports that he pointedly left from the farthest possible exit, thereby making sure everyone noticed his departure. On his blog, Smith criticized Siegel for unprofessional conduct, in a profanity-laced tirade in which he referred to Siegel's moustache as a "cum catcher" and referred to the critic performing sexual acts on fellow director M. Night Shyamalan in regard to his praise for The Village before having seen it. Smith later confronted Siegel in a live interview on the Opie and Anthony show; Siegel apologized for cursing and causing a scene, and told Kevin that he thinks he is a "fine filmmaker," while still defending his decision to walk out.

The main characters from the original film are Dante, Randal, and Jay and Silent Bob. Walt Flanagan and Grace Smith both make cameos at the end of the film reprising their respective roles as Pack O' Smokes Guy and the Milk Maid.

* Clerks II's Myspace account held a contest in which the first 10,000 Myspace users who added them as a friend would have their name in the theatrical and DVD credits. Everyone who added the profile before July 21, 2006 would be rewarded by having their name appear in the DVD credits.

* The end credits of Dogma stated that Jay and Silent Bob would return in Clerks 2: Hardly Clerkin, but the fifth film in the "Jersey Trilogy" ended up being Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. However, Kevin Smith has already been known to make his fans wait; Dogma was promised to be coming in the credits of his first three movies. Kevin Smith has since stated that Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back was the conclusion to the Askewniverse cycle and Clerks II is the epilogue, although in the end credits it states, "Jay and Silent Bob might return someday. Right now, they're taking it easy."

* In an early scene, Emma tells Dante "Face it, Tiger, you've hit the jackpot." This was the famous opening line when readers were introduced to the love of Spider-Man's life, Mary Jane Watson, in Amazing Spider-Man #42.

* In the Clerks cartoon, the episode two ends with Jay narrating what happened with all the Clerks characters. He says that "Dante is married now" and "Randal owns the RST Video", both seem to be true at the end of the movie. He also said that Bob ended as "Senator Robert Plutarski". It turns out that Jay is in a deep relationship with the monkey from Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.

* Prior to the release of the film, Kevin Smith had mentioned releasing an MP3 file commentary to be downloaded and listened to in movie theaters via iPod. Ultimately, theater owners and exhibitors objected, and the plan was scrapped.

* The little girl that waves to Dante when he is driving (before the "Inter-Species Erotica" scene) is Kevin Smith's daughter Harley Quinn Smith.

* Randal wears a Ranger Danger T-shirt, and refers to Ranger Danger in a conversation with Elias. Ranger Danger and the Danger Rangers is an upcoming Kevin Smith movie.

Smith has stated on his website that, should he ever wish to make a film displaying his feelings on fortysomething life, he would most likely use Clerks characters Dante and Randal again to do so.Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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