Movie Of The Day: Mallrats (1995)

Note: This marks the second in a series of “Movies Of The Day” that covers writer/director/actor Kevin Smith’s View Askewniverse films. For the first films review, Clerks., click here.

Set the day before Clerks., Mallrats centers on Brodie Bruce and T.S. Quint, two best friends who’ve been dumped by their respective girlfriends on the same day. At Brodie’s urging, the pair decide to go hang out at the local mall where, as luck would have their exes are spending the day too. Amidst pop-culture-related debates, sex talk, and run-ins with  dealers/mischief makers Jay and Silent Bob, Brodie and T.S. will attempt to win back their significant others.

Mallrats stars Jason Lee (Alvin And The Chipmunks), Jeremy London (7th Heaven), Shannen Doherty (The CW’s 90210), Claire Forlani (Hallam Foe/Mister Foe), Ben Affleck (Hollywoodland), Joey Lauren Adams (The Break-Up), Ethan Suplee (Mr. Woodcock) and Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee. Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith reprise their Clerks. roles, and Brian O’Halloran makes an appearance as his Clerks. character’s cousin. Most of these actors have gone on to appear in subsequent Smith films in these and/or different roles. Trailer and review after the jump.

Following Clerks.‘ mega-success, Kevin Smith was naturally approached by movie studios eager to cash in, thus Mallrats had a much bigger budget than its predecessor and it shows, sometimes a little too much. As in every Smith film, the script is filled with modern cultural references, be it to various comic books, Jaws, and of course Star Wars, but it is often underlined with unnecessary and sometimes distracting sound effects, meant to evoke said reference.

Mallrats was rather poorly received upon its release, probably due to expectation of a film more in line with Clerks. when the two films are very different. Indeed critics have labeled the film as silly and messy, but hey, that’s true and why is that such a problem? Mallrats is louder and sillier than Clerks., but it’s still incredibly well-written silly. Smith continues to prove he’s a master of dialogue and that he can write profanity with taste, a great example of that being the incredible finale for the movie. Some people seem to write profanity for the sake of profanity in unfunny comedies, while others talk of romance in films that don’t seem to have much of a soul. Smith somehow manages to do naturally blend the aspirations of both trends successfully. And that’s why he’s a great filmmaker, not just because he can reference popular movies.

Mallrats is generally regarded as one of Kevin Smith’s weakest films, but I still think there’s plenty to be found here, and enjoyed. It doesn’t have exactly the same feeling as Clerks., but why should it? It’s a film made by someone who clearly knows his stuff, with inventiveness, originality, some great dialogue, great characters and just a great feel to it overall. There’s a reason Kevin Smith is as famous as he is today, even his “lesser” films are great. Mallrats was a consequential flop, making slightly more than a third of its budget, and thus remains Smith’s only film made within the confines of a major studio.

Verdict: Laugh-out loud fun, with a heart. Mallrats currently holds a 7.1/10 on IMDB and a 50% on Rotten Tomatoes.

More “Movies Of The Day”

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