Kevin Smith sucks. (Spoilers)
I hated Clerks III before the opening music finished. Maybe it was the fact that the movie has two nostalgia bait song montages in a row. Maybe it’s because one of the first things we see is that Rosario Dawson’s character from Clerks 2 died in the interim between movies. I don’t know who I despise more, the Kevin Smith that makes absolute garbage like Yoga Hosers but still seemed somewhat interested in making films he thought would be good, or the pathetic shmuck Kevin Smith who has spent his time post-heart attack filling his movies with fake sentimentality, guilt tripping his friends, and masturbating over reminding everyone that his lard ass did in fact have a heart attack.
So anyway, Clerks III starts off with Randall having a heart attack in the Quick Stop, because Kevin Smith has dedicated his life toward being depressed about his heart attack. He decides to do something with his life and his decision? Film a movie. And the movie he films? Clerks. Because Kevin Smith decided with the Jay and Silent Bob Reboot to become the “I clapped because I understood the reference” Redlettermedia meme mocking hack fraud directors and their fans. At this point the movie makes us sit through the film making meta commentary about Clerks, throwing in lazy dialogue that doesn’t include jokes but simply verbatim references prior Smith movies. Remember when Kevin Smith had dignity? Remember when Kevin Smith cared about producing good films?
I don’t know what voice Justin Long is doing as an orderly in this film, but he sounds like a prick. Trevor Fehrman returning as Elias has evidently lost his ability to show emotion, unable to emote a simple smile or frown when giving basic lines. Amy Sedaris is here as the surgeon who works on Randall, and I love Amy Sedaris. She’s the only good thing about this movie and you bet your ass they talk about The Mandalorian because that’s a show she was on and did you know Kevin Smith loves nerd stuff? He had a heart attack. Danny Trejo only has a couple of lines, otherwise he might have been the best person in this film. Jayson Mewes has new teeth and they are fancy teeth. Good on Jay, he has nice teeth. Also Kate Micucci is here, and she’s rarely a disappointment.
When I talked about Velma, I noted that the film is repulsively mean-spirited. Clerks III is repulsively depressing with forced sentimentality shoved up the viewer’s pee-hole. Kevin Smith reminds me of like a bad Adam Sandler. Both men have a good amount of talent at their core, however while Adam Sandler knows how to channel laziness into box office success Kevin Smith just spins depression into garbage. Not only does Randall have a heart attack in the first few minutes, we of course learn that Rosario Dawson died. And then later on the film lets us know just how serious deep serious it is by pointing out that Rosario was also pregnant at the time she died. Also Dante dies, because the film wants to stuff more sentimentality and hopes you’ll look past its awful writing by having characters cry while sad music plays over b-roll from Clerks.
One joke I will admit I laughed at is Jay and Silent Bob dealing weed outside of the store that they own, which is now legal, but doing it shadily because it’s how they’ve always done it. I will also admit they do a pretty good job replicating the sight of someone having a heart attack, which is fitting since it’s the only practical knowledge that Kevin Smith has put into his films in the last decade. The film even goes self-referential on how people are sick of hearing about how Kevin Smith won’t stop guilting people about his heart attack and how he almost died and how he’s an asshole. Did you know Kevin Smith had a heart attack? He almost died.
Clerks III is soulless, it self-destructs any emotion that it might have had. It also makes Kevin Smith, who is effectively portrayed by Randall in this film, look like a bigger jagoff. Smith stopped writing original content with Yoga Hosers of all things, choosing to pad his characters out by having them unironically recycle old lines while other characters ironically comment on their recycling old lines. The banter between characters doesn’t have the same heart as it did in Clerks or even Clerks 2, and holy goddamn is it all just depressing. I think somewhere along the way Kevin Smith forgot that comedy movies should make people laugh. It feels like Kevin Smith is realizing that his glory years are behind him, so he’s dedicating his films toward inducing a midlife crisis in his similarly aging population of old stoners.
It’s also interesting to see how Smith’s talent has faded over the years. The film does a shot-for-shot replication of scenes from Clerks and actually does them worse than the original film. Editing is awful. The movie suffers from the fact that characters don’t seem to talk to each other, but at each other. None of the characters have progressed in the 16 years since Clerks 2. The fact that Rosario Dawson’s ghost spends the movie trying to get Dante to move on and then he just dies cements that this film is just the sad work of a clinically depressed director. I will admit that Brian O’Halloran’s acting in the scene where he has his heart attack is the most convincing in this film.
This probably won’t be Kevin Smith’s last movie, but it’s definitely the last one I watch. I don’t go to the theater (or waste several gigabytes on The Pirate Bay) to watch a man use his films as an alternative for therapy, unless those films are actually entertaining like Bobcat Goldthwait.