Having the perspective of everything that has happened since 1994 makes watching this film for the first time rather underwhelming. Whatever innovations Kevin Smith cooked up have been digested and recycled so many times that there's zero shock factor now. The lo-fi production and the unconvincing acting just give the film a weird quaintness. The question is worth asking: who needs Clerks when you have Superbad?

Smith's script is best when dealing with Dante and Randal's opposing motivations for clerking -- the former's bumbling conformity and the latter's relaxed hooliganism. Smith's script is weakest when dealing with the female characters -- Veronica goes to unbelievable lengths to keep her boyfriend happy, and Caitlin's nymphomania is a (very uncomfortable) joke. Both ladies have their entire lives defined by Dante (Caitlin makes statements to the contrary, which are almost immediately contradicted). They never feel like independent beings. And it's hard not to read some misogyny into Silent Bob's words of wisdom at the end: women are either replacement mothers, or whores.

It's the first Kevin Smith movie I've seen, and so far I'm not that impressed. Looking fwd to seeing Dogma, tho. Proper production values, and perhaps a more enlightened outlook, are expected...

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