Some of you were done with Kevin Smith after Mallrats. For others, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back was the final nail. And I know one or two Smith fans who saw Jersey Girl as a limp concession to the mainstream. (Smith has original "indie" cred, sure, but has he ever really been anything other than mainstream? And by the way, I find that short-cut word "indie" really annoying...)
Personally, I found Mallrats much more interesting the second time around-- it may be the only movie in existence to have actually been almost completely redeemed by a DVD, specifically a DVD commentary track. I know that at times Jay and Silent Bob Strikes Back is almost unbearably broad and self-referential, and in those moments of desperation the movie makes you feel that Smith has perhaps gone back to the trough one too many times with these characters. But the movie is head-spinningly silly, disarmingly nasty and, yes, frequently hilarious as well, attributes which, for a filmmaker like Smith, can paper over a lot of cracks and bumps. And as for Jersey Girl, I know the View Askew acolytes probably didn't know what to do with Smith in sincere (PG-13) mode. But I also know new fathers (like me), as well as folks without children, who appreciated the movie's relatively sentimental (but still sometimes barbed) trajectory, and who found that the movie worked far better than some of the cliched situations (like Ben Affleck racing to make it in time for his daughter's school performance, for instance, and fighting off all conceivable manner of roadway obstacles) would seem to allow.
But now Smith fans, as we did in 2001 when Jay and Silent Bob struck back, must again face the question: is it possible that Kevin Smith may have run out of things to say? And if the movie is funny, will it even matter? These questions, and a few others, may tumble around in your head as you take a look at the new teaser for Smith's upcoming sequel Clerks 2. Hard to tell from the trailer itself whether the original, much funnier title-- seen above-- has been abandoned. And whether or not there are any jabs at Mel Gibson, religious mania, or religious movies within Smith's sequel is (at least by me) unknown. However, the new movie looks to be candy-bright, just like Jay and Silent Bob, apparently jam-packed with familiar faces in (presumably) cameo appearances, and it features new (and always lovely) cast member Rosario Dawson, almost never a bad thing (not even in Men in Black II.) It is strange to see Randall and Dante, a little older, a little wider (that's not a typo), still hanging around Jersey, but now in living color. And who knows-- the movie may be the final nail for a few more Smith fans, maybe even me. But then again, it might just be funny as hell, and that, even as we look back at the peaks of Chasing Amy and Dogma, might still be enough. (Thanks, Sal, for the link!)
And while we're talking about trailers, this one almost drove my wife insane with glee when she stumbled upon it this evening. I'm not sure how Steven Soderbergh's Bubble (to be released simultaneously January 27 in theaters, on DVD, and on-line) could possibly live up to the zany cubist cornucopia of the trailer, which depicts the various stages in the construction of a child's doll (a whole lot of them) scored to a hysterical, contrapuntal classical track that layers in a veneer of sinister purpose to the inexplicably funny imagery. But then again, I've not yet seen Schizopolis...