A Clerks II Primer: Still Clerkin’ Hard

Kevin Smith’s “Clerks II” debuts July 21. Reviews thus far are great and fans are excited. But has it been a while since you took a trip down to the little convenience store in Leonardo, New Jersey? Here’s a quick primer to get you back on track with the counter jockeys when “Clerks II” hits.

The original “Clerks” was a grainy black-and-white affair made for five figures by complete amateurs, that turned into a megahit by the grace of God and Harvey Weinstein. “Clerks II” is slicker, more professional and features celebrities and other high-falutin fun. But both are simple stories that, ultimately, come down to the lives and loves of two, well, clerks. What other similarities and differences can you expect?

RETURNING
Dante Hicks (Brian O’Halloran) – The much-put-upon Dante had a terrible time of it in the last film, between dealing with strange customers and sorting out woman trouble. But at least now his time as a clerk is ending; Dante’s engaged and about to move down south to get married and get a ‘real’ job.
Randal Graves (Jeff Anderson) – The sarcastic, confident self-appointed king of the world hasn’t changed quite as much. Still enjoys slacking off for minimum wage and making snarky “Star Wars” references. But with Dante’s life about to change and his still going nowhere, there’s discomfort afoot.
Jay and Silent Bob (Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith) – What are the profanity-spewing Jay and his hetero lifemate Silent Bob up to? Life hasn’t gone anywhere for their friends, but maybe they have something to say about things. Or at least Jay will; Bob doesn’t talk much, we’re told.
Quick Stop Convenience and RST Video – Dante and Randal’s former places of employment. But you have to move on some time…
Mooby’s – Seen in previous Smith films and now coming in for a head-on collision with the “Clerks” story, as our heroes flip burgers and push buttons on slightly different cash registers.

NOT RETURNING –
Catchphrases (“37” and “I’m not even supposed to be here today”) – Smith has promised this film will not be a slaphappy retread of the first film with winks to the audience. But don’t bet the farm on it.
Veronica Loughran (Marilyn Ghigliotti) and Caitlin Bree (Lisa Spoonhauer) – They’re not on the cast list, anyway. Have Dante’s former girlfriends truly receded into his past?
Justice (Shannon Elizabeth) – Jay may have found love at the end of “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back”, but where did it go from there?

NEWCOMERS
Becky Scott (Rosario Dawson) – Manager of the local Mooby’s, her intelligence and beauty go far beyond what you’d expect from someone whose job entails bossing Dante and Randal around. But there’s more to her relationship with Dante than just work.
Elias Grover (Trevor Fehrman) – Young, aggressively Christian and obsessed with “Lord of the Rings”, he’s Randal’s new sparring partner as Dante slowly fades way.
Emma Bunting (Jennifer Schwalbach Smith) – Dante’s future ball-and-chain is happy to take him away to a life of responsibility and… well, not being a clerk. With the big move just ahead, this relationship is about to take a hard right turn.

“Clerks II” promises memorable moments from characters old and new. It’s been an incredible ride since the original piece burst onto the independent film horizon; where it goes from here is anybody’s guess.

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