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Clerks

Starring: Brian O'Halloran, Jeff Anderson
Director: Kevin Smith
Genre: Comedy
Year: 1994
Rating: 3 / 5

Kevin Smith was barely twenty-four years old when he directed Clerks on a shoestring budget of $27,000. His black-and-white film went on to gross just over $3 million and launch the career of its talented writer-director-producer. Set almost entirely in a small town convenience store, Clerks thrives on witty dialogue, snappy retorts, and a fair amount of crude, sexual humor. Yet who can argue with the sort of success that has produced "sequels" Mallrats, Chasing Amy, and Dogma? Clerks is a tangible slice of life, with characters engaging in the sort of raucous banter that makes young viewers feel right at home.

Dante Hicks (Brian O'Halloran), twenty-two years old and a college dropout, hates his life as a convenience store clerk. On his day off, during which he intends to do nothing but suit up for a game of roller hockey, Dante is called in to work at the last minute by his boss. A day of freedom is squashed, meaning that Dante must content himself with the company of good friend and fellow slacker Randal Graves (Jeff Anderson). Randal, whose video store job involves routinely leaving his post and watching pornography while on duty, makes it his mission to lift his friend out of the doldrums and have a good time.

Clerks is not what one would call an Oscar-worthy film, but its message speaks clearly to those of director Kevin Smith's generation. Dante is a man who would rather enjoy his life of convenience than risk something new in order to find a better life for himself. He is obsessed with an ex-girlfriend of his, even though she cheated on him "eight-and-a-half times" during their five-year relationship. His current girlfriend, who loves him and dotes on him constantly, has no idea that he is passing time with her until he can make one more push at reclaiming his not-so-glorious past. Does Dante ever plan to make something of his life? What young male is not faced with this question?

Clerks holds special appeal because of all the mundane, innocuous conversations held by Dante and Randal throughout the film. They ponder the fates of the independent contractors on the Death Star, the significance of oral sex versus sex, and the nuances of on-the-job behavior. Kevin Smith does a good job of ensuring that our attention always remains on the back-and-forth jabs thrown out by his characters. Of course, with sub-par acting and no discernable plot, this might be Smith's only viable option. Clerks is the sort of enjoyable diversion that allows us all to appreciate the little things in life: the importance of friendship and the healing power of laughter.

Cast:

Brian O'Halloran..........Dante Hicks
Jeff Anderson..........Randal Graves
Jason Mewes..........Jay
Kevin Smith..........Silent Bob

Certification: Rated R for language.
Running Time: 92 minutes.

Additional Info: Internet Movie Database
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