Tue July 18, 2006
Something is right . . . .
Now I know why You, Me and Dupree is such a loser: It tries to be honest and irreverent like Clerks II but ends up being shallow a nd witless. While Clerks II doesn't measure up to the freshness and menagerie of characters the original Clerks owned, it is an acceptable sequel that has the usual scatological, masturbatory, and bestial pieces with a theme of love and loyalty. Although Dupree had some of those pieces, it never convinced me they revealed any more about the characters except they were boy-men not yet ready for adult life.
In Clerks II, Randal (Jeff Anderson), Dante (Brian O'Halloran), and Elias (Trevor Fehrman) now work at Mooby's, a fast food stop up the street from the infamous Quick Stop, burned out but not forgotten. Although Dante is preparing to leave for Florida with his beautiful, rich fianc?, he must deal with his affection for his boss, Becky (Rosario Dawson). Enter in, then, the questions of love's complex demands and the loyalties of best friends whose relationships profoundly change with any impending marriage.
Such heavy stuff is never oppressive nor does it mitigate the raunchy language and set ups, such as the "interspecies eroticism" show Randal sets up for Dante as a gift for his departure. Director/writer Kevin Smith weaves into this rudeness a thematic question about the propriety of unnatural connections such as a marriage for convenience not love. The downer argument between best friends Randal and Dante may cool off the funny language and pranks, but Smith elevates his story into acceptable reflection. Dupree (Owen Wilson) and his buddy, Carl (Matt Dillon) never reach an equality of sentiment because Dupree's existential philosophy is so preachy it saps the comedy right out of the comedy.
Some jokes in Clerks II are lame (Jesus as a Jew and porch monkey definition are just not witty but do offend along racial lines), yet when Becky (Rosario Dawson) negotiates with Dante about love while he paints her toes, something is right in slacker land.
John DeSando teaches film at Franklin University and co-hosts WCBE 90.5's "It's Movie Time," which can be heard streaming at www.wcbe.org Fridays at 3:01 pm and 8:01 pm and on demand anytime. Contact him at JDeSando@Columbus.RR.com