Clerks III Review

If Jay & Silent Bob Reboot was a love letter to fatherhood, Clerks III is a love letter to life. From the opening moment and the preceding scenes, Clerks III takes you back to 1994 and fills you up with the nostalgia that you did not know you were missing. Being back at the Quickstop, feels like hanging out with your old friends and a day has not passed, even though it’s been 28 years since you first met them.

Jason Mewes as Jay and Kevin Smith as Silent Bob in Clerks III. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Lionsgate

Clerks III reunites us with Dante and Randal as they continue running the Quickstop. The RTS Video shop is now run by Jay and Silent Bob as a dispensary. Even though it is legal for them to sell their wares, they still do it in a secretive way, like Jay explains, “That’s how we did it in the 90s!” Their lives have not changed much. Randal lives in a nook between the Quickstop and RST Video. We are given a quick gut punch as we see Dante going through his normal routine of opening the store. Yeah, seeing that hurt a little but it is necessary for the movement of the story.

As we see the boys going through their normal routine, we are re-introduced to Elias and friend Blockchain, his version of Silent Bob, and they talk about their new church and upcoming NFT that they are getting ready to sell. Talking about NFTs and Crypto sends Randal on one of his rants that leads to him having a heart attack known as a “Widowmaker”. If this sounds a bit familiar, it’s basically the same type of heart attack that Kevin Smith had. The film gets more meta from here.

Jeff Anderson as Randal, Brian O’Halloran as Dante, Kevin Smith as Silent Bob, Austin Zajur as Blockchain Coltrane and Trevor Febrman as Elias in Clerks III. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Lionsgate

The scene in the hospital feels a little preachy but it’s Smith’s way of telling the fans that if they are living a life similar to Randal, they too might have a heart attack. While this moment sounds like a PSA it’s a great way to reach an audience that might not have heard this message before. I mean, Amy Sedaris who plays his doctor is named after the doctor that saved Smith’s life. Laying in the hospital Randal decides he wants to make a movie and the movie will be about his life working at RST Video.

This is where the film goes really meta. The movie Randal writes is basically the first Clerks movie using the original actors and recreating some of the original scenes. Randal originally calls the movie “Inconvenience” which was one of the original titles of the Clerks. We always hear the team “Hindsight is 20/20” and for Kevin Smith, this is a great way to point out some of the decisions he made when making the original Clerks. The argument between using color film and shooting in black and white is perfectly explained by Silent Bob. (Yes, he talks a little more in this movie)

There is a great scene where the duo auditions actors to be in the movie. You will see a lot of familiar faces along with some new ones. Dante becomes the defacto producer of the film and ends up calling his ex-fiance Emma to secure some funding for the movie. This leads to some funny conversations and an interesting deal being made.

As Randal films his movie, we see that he seems to be forgetting the other lead and main player of the movie, Dante. Randal is making the entire movie about him and forgetting that Dante and all that he had to bring to the movie. We see this “film’ putting a strain on their friendship. During some of these moments, Dante “conscious” talks to him and helps him remember the good times he has had with Randal. This “conscious” is what helps Dante decide to help Randal out and finish making the movie.

The third act is where the film takes a turn that may divide some fans of Smith’s Askewniverse. This act is where the heart of the movie really shines and shows us that Smith is not just a one-trick pony. We see some great range from both O’Halloran and Anderson that this feels like it is no longer a Kevin Smith comedy. Clerks III is not afraid to show the dark side of friendships, families, and life. This third act hit me hard a few hours after the movie ended. That is all I will say about that.

Clerks III is a great wrap-up to the Clerks trilogy and is a sequel that you did not know you needed.

Final Thoughts: If Jay & Silent Bob Reboot was a love letter to fatherhood, Clerks III is a love letter to life. Through the story of Randal’s heart attack, we are shown that we never know when our lives will end. His story shows us to take advantage of the time we have before it runs out. While the movie may feel a bit too preachy at some points, this is a lesson that needs to be pounded into our heads. Clerks III is also a great reminder to appreciate those around you before it’s too late. Make sure to stay through the end credits for a great monologue by Kevin Smith!

Kid-Friendly: Clerks III is not kid-friendly. The movie is rated “R” for pervasive language, crude sexual material, and drug content. If you have let your children watch the previous Clerks’ films and they are of age then they should be ok watching this. I would recommend this for children 17 and up.

Violence: There is no violence in the movie. There is a scene involving a gun but this scene is shown in the trailer.

Lionsgate in partnership with Fathom Events will be releasing CLERKS III exclusively in theaters on September 13th and 15th.

Following a massive heart attack, Randal enlists his friends and fellow clerks Dante, Elias, Jay, and Silent Bob to make a movie immortalizing his life at the convenience store that started it all.

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