Review by Kelly Grosskreutz
Starring: Jeremy London, Jason Lee, Shannen Doherty, Claire Forlani, Jason Mewes, and Kevin Smith
Director: Kevin Smith
Rating: Victory Star Destroyer
Mallrats, the sophomore effort by Clerks writer/director Kevin Smith, is my second favorite Smith film. I feel that I needed to say this, since my perceptions of the movie seem to differ from the professionals who reviewed this movie at the time. They didn't like the movie and said he should have known better. I personally don't know why they didn't like it.
T.S. and Brodie (London and Lee) have just been dumped by their girlfriends (Forlani and Doherty). They decide to spend the day at the mall to try to get over them. Of course, they keep running into their ex-girlfriends all day, so they decide to try to win them back. Some of the other things happening in the mall throughout the day include repeated attempts to sabotage a game show slated to be filmed live from the mall in the evening, the accosting of the Easter Bunny, kids getting caught in the escalator, and a comic book signing session by Stan Lee, the creator of Spiderman and the X-Men, among other well-known titles.
Smith seems to be following somewhat the same formula that he used for Clerks. Again, we have two guys with more or less no life trying to sort out their love lives. Although neither of them are working, they spend most of the day just hanging out in one place. The most outrageous things seem to happen in that one place, things that normally wouldn't happen. And to top it off, Jay and Silent Bob are in both movies.
Smith also prominently showcases two of his great loves in this film. I'm talking, of course, about Star Wars and comic books. I mentioned above that Stan Lee is in this film. Brodie, when not going on about women, loves to discuss various aspects of comic books, and we even see box after box of them stacked in his house. As for the Star Wars reference of the film, Kevin Smith's character, Silent Bob, spends the entire movie trying to use the Force to levitate his cigarette.
Unlike Clerks, however, this movie is a lot easier to follow. It feels more like an actual movie. Instead of the plot being somewhat buried beneath lots of jokes and various random happenings, Mallrats has a plot laced with some great jokes. The ending is also more satisfactory, albeit predictable.
For the most part, I had no problems with the acting. The one character that could have been better, however, is that of Brandi Svenning, T.S.'s girlfriend. I know the character was supposed to be kind of a boring goody-two-shoes, but her character just did not grab me. I am not sure if this is because she was written this way, or because Claire Forlani could have done more but just didn't.
Overall, I would highly recommend this film to anyone who is looking for a funny romantic comedy about some people who need to get a life. Also, anyone who wants to see a movie with Ben Affleck before he was really well-known should see this, since he has a pretty big supporting role as an egotistical jerk. Jay and Silent Bob fans should also like this, since they have a fairly large role.
Reviewed February 25, 2001 by Kelly M. Grosskreutz.