Film Review: CLERKS III (2022): Kevin Smith Ends a Trilogy with Heartfelt Sincerity and Many Laugh-Out-Loud Funny Scenes

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Jeff Anderson Brian O Halloran Clerks Iii

Clerks III Review

Clerks III (2022) Film Review, a movie written and directed by Kevin Smith and starring Brian O’Halloran, Jeff Anderson, Trevor Fehrman, Rosario Dawson, Kevin Smith, Jason Mewes, Marilyn Ghigliotti, Austin Zajur, Lisa Hampton, Scott Schiaffo, Dave Ferrier, AJ Wilkerson, Ben Affleck, Freddie Prinze Jr., Sarah Michelle Gellar, Justin Long and Fred Armisen.

Life is pretty short in the grand scheme of things, so why not just enjoy it and, in the meantime, just be yourself? That’s the message I got while watching Kevin Smith’s hilarious and heartfelt new film sequel, Clerks III. In 1994, Smith stunned the movie world with his $27,000 black and white indie film, Clerks. In 2006, we got the sweet sequel, Clerks II, and now the third time is most certainly the charm because Clerks III is close to perfect in terms of how it brings a smile to the viewer’s face and keeps the film’s target audience enormously entertained for the duration of the movie’s entire running time.

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The movie is about two middle-aged guys who co-own a convenience store in New Jersey. Jeff Anderson is Randal who goes on about Star Wars and a lot of other ridiculous nonsense while his partner at the store, Dante (Brian O’Halloran) is more of a straight shooter who is suffering the loss of the one woman he truly loved, Becky (Rosario Dawson). The third wheel at the convenience store is the strangely unique Elias (Trevor Fehrman) who was hired at the store at the end of the second film in the series. Elias hangs out with Blockchain Coltrane (Austin Zajur) and initially talks a lot about Jesus as he tries to get a religious kite business going. Do people even fly kites anymore? In this movie, they may still indeed do so.

Clerks III kicks into high gear when Randal suffers a heart attack and ends up in the hospital and going to the OR. A worker at the hospital (Justin Long, who is in everything this month) must shave his private area before Randal goes into surgery but Randal is too concerned with the size of his penis and having Dante find out it really isn’t as big as he says it is. In what is a recovery that is against the odds, Randal has a newfound appreciation for life. So, what does he decide to do? He decides to make a movie about his life.

One problem with making that movie, though: there’s no budget. Still, that doesn’t stop our heroes from going out and auditioning all types of actors for the roles in their upcoming movie. Ben Affleck of Smith’s Chasing Amy (among others) appears in the hilariously funny audition montage. By the way, Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Smith, himself) are in quite a bit of the film as well, and Jay is still selling drugs and hanging outside their own store which is right next to Randal and Dante’s convenience store.

The highlight of this new film is Rosario Dawson in “imaginary” sequences. Dante (who is Dan-T in the script Randal writes) loves Becky still. She used to work at the local fast-food joint and at one point, Dante is overcome with grief. He cannot even go in the restaurant Becky used to work in, even to film a scene in Randal’s new movie which gets some funding due to some footwork that Dante does. A hilarious scene has Becky and Dante talking about the men Becky is sleeping with in heaven which include Malcolm “XXX.” But, as Dante visits her grave, he yearns for the times he used to spend with her. Dawson is so immensely likable that she lights up the screen in some of the most touching moments of Clerks III.

Anderson and O’Halloran don’t do too badly themselves here. They create realistic characters in this film, and their friendship is certainly emotionally portrayed thanks to Smith’s capable writing and direction. Smith is a genius because he throws so many crazy things out into the film’s scenes and overall premise and many of them actually, to my surprise, stick quite well. Marilyn Ghigliotti even plays her part as Veronica so well that we believe it when Dante and her actually have sex together in her car. Besides Ghigliotti, there are bit parts that work well such as a mom who brings her high school journalist daughter to the convenience store to give Randal’s movie some much needed press.

Also to my surprise, the third Clerks film is absolutely the best of the trilogy. We’ve grown to love these characters so much throughout the years that it’s nostalgic to see the mention of VHS video tapes, video stores and all the old school throwbacks that the film offers to the audience. Smith does so much right here and even by having a key character compare Silent Bob to Maggie Simpson. he’s lovingly having fun and relating things to the audience that are so intriguing to watch and listen to. Watch for the scene where Silent Bob gives his opinion why the movie being made within the movie should be filmed in black and white.

Clerks III is actually a pretty moving film. O’Halloran digs deep inside his character’s soul and comes up with his best performance to date. He’s an “everyman” that the audience can’t help but care about. What is so unique about this new sequel is how it offers a bizarre exchange between characters at one point and then turns into something more profound, sometimes even within the same scene. Credit Smith for his remarkable attention to detail that makes this method of storytelling all the more endearing and entertaining.

It was great to have one last hurrah with these characters in what is a sure-to-be crowd pleaser for fans of these characters and, perhaps, even newcomers to the franchise. Clerks III is Kevin Smith at his best and you’ll have a wonderful time caring about these people and having them make you laugh all the way through the entire movie. It’s a winner.

Rating: 9/10

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