I’ve watched a lot of Kevin Smith stuff lately, let it be said this isn’t the best idea. His formula is now so well worn that you start realising how few laughs there actually are in his movies, and how most of those come from references to other films.
So let’s play Kevin Smith movie Bingo:
- Comic-book references.
- Fluid jokes and potty talk.
- Dirty stuff discussed at length but never shown.
- Gross outs.
- More swearing.
- Samey-sounding indie rock.
- Star Wars and superhero references.
- Jay & Silent Bob.
- And Bingo was his name-O!
All of this is built around a featherweight plot designed to get characters from cunnilingus-related story A to prison-sex joke B.
In the case of Mallrats T.S. and Brody are buddies and both are unceremoniously dumped on the same morning, T.S. by the vacuous and Avatar-looking Claire Forlani, Brody by Shannon Doherty in her biggest role since 90210… what range! The boys decide “screw it, let’s go to the mall”.
Brody is a frequent visitor and knows the mall back to front, it is fair to say that he is quite passionate about the mall and the value that it has for society, in fact between Brody and T.S. they seem to know almost everyone in the damn place.
And so on and so forth: The characters talk like no-one actually talks, only in a Smith way not a Tarantino way, there is generally pointless human interaction between the leads and the usual Kevin Smith regulars (Affleck, Joey Lauren Adams, etc) and the entire plot revolves around the boys trying to sabotage a game show run by T.S.’s ex’s Father.
The ending is farcical, it seems like much more time was spent shoehorning in pop culture references and dirty jokes than the actual story, much like Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, which at least had better jokes and knew it was dumb.
I would be willing to forgive this if the thing was just funnier. But the fact is that it isn’t, the reason Mallrats was caned by the critics isn’t because of the potty talk and innuendo (even if it was), it was because in between all that there is a distinct lack of actual jokes.
I know Kevin Smith has done some good stuff in between this and the execrable Cop Out. I remain a big fan of Clerks, thought Dogma was both funny and creative and even liked Clerks 2 much more than I expected, but like the girl with the little curl “when he is good he is very, very good, but when he is lazy he is just boring.
Final Rating – 6 / 10. For those who think that hanging around the mall is a boring, unfunny waste of time (basically every guy over 18); Mallrats proves it beyond doubt.