anchorman, ben affleck, beverly hills 90210, brenda, chasing amy, claire forlani, clerks, comic books, ethan supplee, goops, hartford whalers, hidden 3d picture, jason lee, jason mewes, jay and silent bob, jeremy london, joey lauren adams, kevin smith, kid on the escalator, mallrats, michael rooker, schooner, shannen doherty, stan lee, stink palm, the hangover, vancouver canucks, weezer
I know that Mallrats is no cinematic masterpiece. Even director Kevin Smith apologized for making it, you say? So what. This movie is funny as hell. Lowbrow humor through and through, but I can say this – it still makes me laugh, which is something that The Hangover (pick which one, as I’m sure they’re all the same) didn’t do. Anchorman didn’t even cause me to chuckle a single time, and people hold it in incredibly high regard as if it’s in the comedy hall of fame. We all have shitty movies we enjoy and Mallrats is one of mine.
And let’s all agree on something – malls suck unless you’re 14-years old. So anytime that malls and mall culture can be skewered, I’m all for it. I worked for two of the biggest mall and shopping center companies in the country and there just isn’t anything good about them or that particular industry. They perpetuate conformity (same stores in every town in America with the same bullshit products) and they push help push out local businesses. So suck it, malls!
The plot of Mallrats is as old as the day is long. Two boys, Brodie (Jason Lee) and TS Quint (Jeremy London) both are dumped by their respective girlfriends, Rene (Shannen Doherty) and Brandi (Claire Forlani). TS tries desperately to get Brandi back as they were supposed to be going to Florida where he intended to propose to her at Paramount Studios on the ride where Jaws pops out of the water. Her father, (Michael Rooker) hates TS and uses Brandi as a contestant on a dating game show he’s pitching to network executives. Brodie, on the other hand, tries to play off his affection for Rene, acting as if their breakup (which was totally his fault because he’s a slacker ass) is final and he doesn’t care what happens with her. Obviously that’s not the case. This is the classic boy has girl-boy loses girl-boy fights to get girl back story…with lots of funny ass parts in between.
One of the good things about this movie is that it is filled with references from Clerks, which I firmly believe is an indie masterpiece. Mentioned are Walt Flanagan and Rick Derris, which is awesome. So of course we get the loveable stoners to appear again, Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Kevin Smith). Jay is noticeably more sober in this film and detrimentally so. He was at his finest in Clerks when he was visibly wasted:
As nice as it is to have some continuity in the Kevin Smith World (something he keeps up in his next film, Chasing Amy as well), this film hinges on Brodie, who without a doubt delivers. Jason Lee is just outstandingly funny in this. Delivery and inflection are perfect and his gestures spot-on. A great comedic performance, especially given that he isn’t exactly playing opposite Paul Newman-caliber actors. The bits Smith wrote for him are insanely funny and perhaps the reason he resonated so well with me is I knew several characters like Brodie growing up – the manchild slacker whose focus is on things of little value or importance in the grand scheme of things, i.e. comic books, video games and, well, the mall.
How can one forget the stink palm scene? And better yet, the kid on the escalator scene is priceless:
The payoff when the kid actually gets caught is well played, Mr. Smith.
And the game show scene is the creme de la creme, the final culmination of Brodie’s indomitable (and vulgar) spirit:
The noises he makes are just unreal. Seriously can’t stop laughing every time I watch it.
Ancillary (and totally unnecessary) character Willam (Ethan Supplee) provides two quality moments in the film – the first is his reaction to the kids being able to see the hidden picture immediately when he’s been trying for weeks (click on the pic above) and the second is the kickass Beverly Hills 90210 reference:
Nice to see that Shannen Doherty played along since she’s notoriously bitchy.
In typical form, Kevin Smith‘s dialogue in Mallrats is over the top and cringe worthy in spots. He got away with it in Clerks because it was new and fresh. Not so much in this film. I frankly find the TS character loathsome and pointless, but he does give Brodie someone to play off of and continue with the funny. And lest we forget Ben Affleck‘s awful performance…
Nonetheless, this movie is still very funny and has generally gotten a bad rap since its release. I urge you to watch or re-watch it and dare you not to laugh throughout. Shit is funny.
Here’s the trailer: