Lifelong platonic friends Zack and Miri look to solve their respective cash-flow problems by making an adult film together. As the cameras roll, however, the duo begin to sense that they may have more feelings for each other than they previously thought.
Dante Hicks is not having a good day. He works as a clerk in a small convenience store and is told to come into work on his day off. Dante thinks life is a series of down endings and this day is proving to no different. He reads in the newspaper that his ex-girlfriend Caitlin is getting married. His present girlfriend reveals to have somewhat more experience with sex that he ever imagined. His principal concerns are the hockey game he has that afternoon and the wake for a friend who died. His buddy Randal Graves works as a clerk in the video store next and he hates his job just about as much as Dante hates his. Written by
Kevin Smith has delved into action ("Mallrats"), drama ("Chasing Amy") and philosophy ("Dogma") in his Askewniverse, but Clerks, the first film of the series, is still the best.
Shot on a ridiculously low budget, using mostly friends and relatives as the cast and crew (see the line in the credits where "Boom" is credited as "whoever happened to be holding the pole"), "Clerks" is such a great film just because it doesn't try to be more than it is. You get the sense that this movie is in black and white not to be pretentious, but just because it's a prosaic look at prosaic lives.
Kevin Smith's real gift is writing funny, witty dialogue, and that's what carries this film. From Star Wars debates (did the destruction of the second Death Star in "Jedi" cost innocent contractors their lives?) to perfectly serious debates about sex ("Thirty-seven???"), this is the ultimate movie for anyone who's ever been going nowhere and doing nothing. It's a day in the life of the guy working at the corner store, no more, no less. But it's absolutely brilliant.
People either love or hate Kevin Smith movies. Chances are, if you can appreciate the humour of low-brow jokes about pornography as high art, then you'll enjoy "Clerks". His brand of humour isn't for everyone. This is his first film and it's flawed, to be sure. But in my humble opinion, it's still Smith's best.
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