Kevin Smith circles back to the start of his career with this next chapter in the lives of Dante (Brian O’Halloran) and Randal (Jeff Anderson), 16 years after the pair bought the Quick Stop store. They might still have a slacker attitude, but some things have changed: Dante has loved and lost, while Randal has become even bitterer – so much so that he suffers a near-fatal heart attack, an event that mirrors Smith’s own health scare several years ago. The film’s meta aspects are only rendered more evident when Randal decides to make a film of his life which, of course, would essentially be Clerks.
Meanwhile, Jay and Silent Bob (Jason Mewes and Smith) have ‘gone legit’, running what used to be the video store as a legalised pot shop, while Elias (Trevor Fehrman) has gotten into cryptocurrency. The setup leads to more of the same from Smith, except there’s a surprising amount of heart here (and not just the coronary kind). Clerks III is more about friendship and coming to terms with ageing – but not necessarily growing up – than it is about dick and weed jokes (not that there’s any lack of those). It’s half a mature film wrapped in the guise of a familiar comedy.
There’s also the usual array of guest appearances, including characters we’ve met over the years and some surprising cameos (the audition montage is a standout).
If lazy repetition made you check out of the View Askewniverse a while back, Clerks III might seem like your worst kind of hell. However, we predict that, like us, you’ll be surprised by the emotions this trip back to the well will stir up. Well played, clerks.Clerks III is in cinemas from September 16th.