Kevin Smith, the once-indie film-making prodigy, has made his name not just from the success of his debut film, Clerks, but also from the legendary tale of its creation. Back in 1993, Smith famously used multiple credit cards and raised $27,575 to produce a witty, dialogue-driven film in the off-hours of his day job at a New Jersey convenience store.
As a long-time fan of Clerks and its follow-up, Clerks II, I approached Smith’s latest film, Clerks III, with cautious optimism, hoping to witness a return to form. However, despite being marginally better than his previous outings such as Tusk and Yoga Hosers, it falls far short of expectations.
The film is a meta-comedy that heavily relies on references and recreations of scenes from the original, a hardly surprising fact. But the execution is lazy and uninspired, lacking the originality and charm of its predecessor. Instead of building upon the source material in any meaningful way, Smith seems content to rehash old gags and callbacks, a move that ultimately renders the film a lacklustre sequel.
It’s clear that Smith has made a deliberate decision to cater solely to his podcast subscribers, alienating everyone else in the process. The callbacks and references to the original may please hardcore fans, but the lack of fresh ideas makes the film feel like a missed opportunity.
While the original film was quotable and fresh, this one falls short in almost every way, failing to capture the magic of the original.