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CLERKS II

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In Kevin Smith's follow-up to his breakout 1994 cult hit, Clerks, we catch up with that film's hapless pair, Dante (Brian O'Halloran) and Randall (Jeff Anderson). Now in their 30s, they're grinding away at a burger joint. Smith's genially vulgar film snapshots one day, as the two harass customers, squabble, riff on pop culture and ponder the future. Parts of Clerks II are as frustratingly amateurish as ever (Smith reprises his deeply unfunny Silent Bob routine). However, the film is buoyed by Rosario Dawson (as the duo's boss); a few choice cameos (that's you, Wanda Sykes!); and an actual plot. It seems Dante's in danger of maturing, and he might bring the whole gang along ... after the donkey sex show, naturally. Hardcore fans of Clerks might scream "sell out" but Smith's older, too: As much the earlier film represented his own youthful retail hijinks, today, he's a family man and wage-earner, and we've solid hope that there won't be a Clerks III. (AH)

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