Clerks III

15 Blu-ray, DVD

In 1994 Kevin Smith wrote and directed his first feature Clerks. It was a film inspired by Smith’s time working in a convenience store in his home town of Leonardo, New Jersey.

28 years later and Smith returns to his Clerks roots, for the third time, in what is possibly his most meta and personal story yet.

boom reviews Clerks III
You know what? I think we'll both sleep well tonight.

Still working in the Quick Stop, which they now own together, are Dante (Brian O’Halloran) and Randal (Jeff Anderson).

During one of their livelier discussions, Randal finds himself having trouble breathing, so they call 911 and get an ambulance to take him to hospital. It turns out it’s just as well, as Randal actually had a heart attack.

Luckily for him, he recovers, but the experience makes him think deeply about what he’s done with his life, or more accurately, what he hasn’t done.

He decides that a lot of things have happened during his life thus far though, the kind of stuff that would make an interesting film. So he decides to make it, with the help of all his friends – including Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Smith) – so everyone can finally see what it’s been like to work as clerks in this particularly crazy convenience store.

boom reviews Clerks III
Ah that's nice, they all died in the end.

It’s been 16 years since Clerks II and a lot has happened to Smith during that time, including a severe heart attack in 2018. Well, they do so write what you know, and Smith has clearly done just that with this latest entry.

To that end, it’s a very retrospective film, with Smith seemingly using his experience with his health as a jumping off point for his story.

Randal’s heart attack makes him put his life into some sort of perspective, and is the driving force for his sudden creative spurt to make a film.

At the same time, it does the same thing for Dante too, who also discovers the past has a hold on him, with visits from his dead girlfriend Becky, played by Rosario Dawson. As well as providing some of the film’s most touching scenes, it’s also a nod to one of the film’s most used themes, that of discussing Star Wars, with Becky now a version of dead Ben Kenobi, but without the transparent appearance.

And although it’s surprisingly heartfelt, fans of the series will be pleased to know that it’s just as crude and silly as ever.

Obviously Smith has put of his own experience into it, but that’s always been the case, as the whole premise is rooted in his time working in a convenience store. It does feel that little more personal however, and dare we say it, a little more grown up.

Smith obviously had good reasons to return to this material, and the fact that Clerks II, that was only made for $5 million made a good return of over $26 million at the box office must have helped.

Sadly there wasn’t the same kind of appetite for this one by audiences, as it only made under $5 million at the box office (with a budget of $7 million), so it looks like this will see the doors close on the Quick Stop for the last time. Not that it will matter to Smith, as this was probably a cathartic creative way of saying goodbye to some characters he’s cared deeply for over the years.

It’s a film that certainly won’t make much sense seen in isolation, and therefore will only appeal to fans of the previous films in the series. And although it’s a little self indulgent overall, it’s a nice way for fans as well as Smith to say their goodbyes to the staff and quirky customers of the Quick Stop, all of whom helped to put in a decent shift over the years.

we give this three out of five