Flick Reviews: ‘Clerks’ (1994)

 

Clerks is a 1994 comedy directed by Kevin Smith and stars Brian O’Halloran and Jeff Anderson. The plot goes like this:

A day in the lives of two convenience clerks named Dante and Randal as they annoy customers, discuss movies, and play hockey on the store roof.

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Clerks
 comes through as a truthful but sarcastically hilarious look at the lives of ordinary job workers with clever, gross and sharp humor that allows the comedic dialogue to become the major player in running the narrative. This is a true cult classic from the 90s, and all of the reasons for it to be proclaimed as such could be seen in its genuine and creative approach towards its subject matters that will both crack you up and make you question labor and existential concerns. It talks to a certain culture with its characters, and makes you feel like you’re going through every major, bad situation that they have to deal with. The film acts like its knows that culture so well, and it shows its awareness for such in its characters and setting, letting those two things come out as natural in terms of its feel.

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The characters are made relatable in a way, and that’s part of why its magic works so fine. Brian O’Halloran’s Dante and Jeff Anderson’s Randal’s interactions with one another surprisingly sometimes make for some warmer and more contemplative moments, albeit with a little humor thrown here and there. Funny thing though is, there are some points during the film where it lets you realize who’s smarter between the two, letting the movie hit all the right marks in trying to convey what it tries to say. Effectively so by letting us laugh at who looks smarter rather than the one who looks idiotic. This is a clever asset that the film uses, and it makes us love the film and its characters so much more. Everything in Clerks is just hard not to love even if it they are indeed offensive to some. It does things in its own respective ways, and it accomplishes them so rightly to make every single aspect mix well with the other.

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The comedy sometimes feels so tragic that it’s almost kind of nightmarish in terms of relating ourselves to the scenarios, and the movie makes it feel like it’s such a burden to carry with its occasional weighty handling of its topic/s. The occasional seriousness blends in so well with its jokey tone, and speaks out to us viewers about its how dire things could get. Profanity comes in and goes, but it is given a subtle relevance if one were to think, almost as if it plays a huge role in making us relate to these people and the horrible circumstances in life they have to go through, no matter how big or small.

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It may sound nothing like a big deal, but Clerks does those things so well that you just have to admire it for succeeding in doing so. Surprisingly, this comedy packs brains and it exposes it for the film’s entirety with the use of a little subtlety. Crafting a comedy this simple yet so imposing is a task, but Kevin Smith nonetheless stuns us with his keen and aggressively hysterical wit with this low-budget sleeper hit. All thanks to Kevin Smith’s utilization of humor that vents out its more meaningful message, Clerks becomes a unique comedy that employs laughs and homespun intellect to go hand in hand to create a comedy that feels so real in spite of looking so daft.

Rating:

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