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Movie Review: Clerks III (2022) *Spoiler Free*

Clerks III One Sheet.

I am generally a fan of director Kevin Smith's films, but after one watch through I'm not really sure if Clerks III really lives up to my expectations. Which is partly because I've heard nothing but positive feedback from audiences who saw the movie in theatres as part of Smith's Convenience Tour (in which he personally introduces the movie and I believe has a Q&A session afterward).


I do tend to ignore negative reviews of Smith's films because critics (and people in general) who really don't care for his films tend not to hold back. They'll criticize everything mercilessly, like a tidal wave of negativity that just tells you they're probably horrible people with parental issues.

Anyway, Clerks III, continues from Clerks II but pays more homages to the original Clerks over the course of the film. The time jump is basically the real life equivalent of time between Clerks II and III. Dante (Brian O'Halloran) and Randal (Jeff Anderson) are still working at the same convenience store that they now part own with Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Kevin Smith).

Randal, after experiencing a heart attack that could have killed him, decides to do something more with his life by turning it into a movie. Two things taken directly from Smith's own life, just not in that order.

The film becomes very meta as it's essentially a fictional retelling of how the first film in the Clerks series was made, hence we get more homages to that film. However, more than that, it's about life long  friendships and not taking things for granted (maybe?).

To a degree it ends up being a very sentimental film that does get the emotions going but not where you probably thought, based on the trailers, if the ending hasn't been spoiled for you going in. From my point of view I didn't think it was really earning its sadder emotional moments early on but the ones toward the end do feel earned (and kind of got me).

Where I was really bumping into problems is not so much the acting, which is deliberately over the top in some scenes, while in others it's more 'natural' like 'real people' (I guess), but with some edits going into scenes. On a few occasions I got the sense that Smith cut just a fraction of a second too early so you can see the actor 'start' their performance in the scene. More so with comedic scenes than dramatic scenes.

It's not a huge problem but it made me more aware, at time, that I'm watching a movie than experiencing a story (if that makes sense?). I didn't have any such issues with Jay and Silent Bob Reboot which I felt was much more of a fun time if you are a Kevin Smith fan.

Overall, I do like Clerks III. It's not as laugh out loud funny as the previous two installments, or the Jay and Silent Bob movies, but it is trying to tell a more heartfelt story looking more into the lives of the two leads, than those other films.

It is kind of a bookend to Smith's View Askewniverse though I don't doubt we may see another Jay and Silent Bob movie again at some point just because those two characters most easily transcend their films. (Plus there's that Mallrats sequel he's planning).

Smith has done a relatively effective job of balancing story with call backs and Easter eggs. As I said, I'm not sure how I feel about Clerks III after only one viewing, but I do think this film is a win. It wasn't as laugh out loud funny as I was hoping but a lot of that is down to the inclusion of more heart and emotional beats.

Nevertheless it's an enjoyable film that particularly long time Kevin Smith fans will really appreciate.


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