‘Clerks III’ pays tribute to first film with laughs


Courtesy Photo

Brian O’Halloran, Jason Mewes, Jeff Anderson and Kevin Smith in “Clerks III” movie poster. “Clerks III” released on Sept. 13.

After nearly three decades, Director Kevin Smith has released “Clerks III,” the second sequel to his very first film, 1994’s “Clerks.”

Although Smith had directed many films that connect with one another at some capacity, ranging from “Mallrats,” “Chasing Amy,” “Dogma,” etc., “Clerks” had a follow-up release in 2006, which was centered on the characters from its predecessor. The third is no exception, but there was a different subtext compared to the first two films of the trilogy.

This film brought back the series mainstays Dante Hicks (Brian O’Halloran) and Randal Graves (Jeff Anderson).

Earlier in the film, Randal suffered a heart attack and suddenly he had the urge to make a movie. This was not just any movie though it was about convenience store employees and the things they deal with, whether it’s customers and wondering about their place in life.

Sound familiar? Well, it should.

It was no secret that Smith did this film as a love-letter to the first film. Some actors were brought back to recreate scenes from the first film, and some were used as plot elements for some of the main characters. Some sequences were shot in black-and-white as a callback.

What worked was that many of the callbacks didn’t feel forced, unlike Smith’s previous film, 2019’s “Jay & Silent Bob Reboot.” Though some bits were on the nose with the self-referential jokes, especially in recreating scenes referencing the making of the first film, they had a charm to them. Some bits also satirized the film industry with its “progressiveness.”

Of course, this film wasn’t without the type of humor that Smith is known for. It did get crude, but it didn’t go overboard. A lot of the humor came from the inside jokes that fans of Smith’s previous films were familiar with. Some of them landed, but would probably be lost to the untrained eye.

This film still had moments where there were arcs for some of the characters and their relationships with one another. Like many other comedies, there is often a serious moment, and this was no exception. Those arcs made for some heartwarming moments in this film. They didn’t drag it down either.

For what this film was, it worked on various levels. This film delivered on some of the jokes, but what really delivered was the emotion that stemmed from the subtext of being a personal love-letter to the first film.