A and A's Movie A Day

Watching movies until we run out.

Mallrats

October 14, 2010

Mallrats

I remember Amanda trying to describe this movie to me when she had seen it and I had not. Her description was incoherent and made no real sense. She said it was about some guys who hang out at a mall, talk incessantly about sex and comic books. It had those two guys from Clerks, one of whom talked all the time and one of whom never spoke. It has a fifteen year old girl who’s writing a book about sex and sleeping with all kinds of guys. It has an annoying prick who likes to shag girls in the most uncomfortable place. At the time I thought that there was some kind of disconnect which made it impossible for me to understand how all these disparate moments made up a movie. Then I saw it.

The truth of the matter is that there isn’t that much of a movie here. It’s just a string of weird scenes where stuff happens to slackers. Oh, sure, it’s fun. There’s plenty of references to comic books and even an appearance by Stan Lee. There’s a lot of silly dialog and a lot of swearing and drug references. But it’s not a movie, really.

For one thing it doesn’t feature actors. Well, okay, it has a few real actors, but many of the roles are just filled by Kevin Smith’s pals. The dialog, viewed from here in the future, seems like the kind of stuff you’d expect to see in foul mouthed internet video blogs. The entire production has a fairly amateur feel to it. But of course that’s part of the appeal.

The story (such as it is) here involves two friends, Brodie and T.S., who are dumped by their respective girlfriends on the same day and console themselves by going to the local mall. T.S. is a romantic fellow who had been planning to propose to his girlfriend during the Universal studio tour on a vacation in Florida. Brodie is a completely self-obsessed jerk who has absolutely no redeeming qualities whatsoever except a liking for comic books. Over the course of the movie they meet up with friends and ex-lovers in the mall, do battle with mall cops and eventually appear on a live love connection television show in an attempt to get back together with their girlfriends.

I can’t say I love the whole movie. At its best it’s irreverent, self referential and nerdy. Any time that Jason Mewes is on the screen is fun, because he’s clearly not acting. Jay just is that way. He has all the funniest lines and his whole plot about trying to destroy the stage for the game show also results in the best physical humor in the movie. It helps that when I was working at TLA a couple of the guys had the talking Jay and Silent Bob figures. Jay had phrases from this movie like “Faster than Walt Flannigan’s Dog” and the Silent Bob figure had a button to make him talk but it didn’t do anything.

On the other hand I don’t care at all for the character of Brodie. I don’t think it’s Jason Lee’s performance – he’s one of the better actors on the set (note how he actually manages to look as though he’s attracted to Shannen Doherty) but the character himself is utterly irredeemable. The movie tries its best to convince me that he is actually charming and amusing, but it never really works for me. Oh, I can sympathise with somebody who wakes up next to a beautiful woman and plays video games or who loves comic books, but his in-your-face attitude and constant obscene rants do not make me root for him as a hero.

Still, I enjoy the whole View Askew universe. This is a clear stepping stone from the shoestring budget and completely amateur production of Clerks towards something more accomplished and polished, if not more mature. I think Kevin Smith really started to hit his stride with Dogma and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, but these first steps need to be made. If Clerks is Smith’s THX 1148 then this movie is his American Graffiti. It’s hipper and less experimental, but it’s not what he’s really capable of. (Hmm, that metaphor would seem to imply that Clerks II is Smith’s Attack of the Clones. I’ll have to re-visit that thought when I get around to buying that.)

Advertisements

October 14, 2010 - Posted by | daily reviews | , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: