I remember watching Clerks not long after it came out and enjoying it, thinking it was a bit cutting edge and interesting, but I think that might have been more to do with my youth and naivete and the fact I thought indie was cool, and I took note of the writer/director because I thought some of it was funny and I enjoyed the pop culture and Star Wars references. I then kept an eye out for Mallrats when it came out, which I enjoyed, and then Chasing Amy. After Chasing Amy, Kevin Smith released one of my favourite movies of all time, in my opinion, a genuine classic, Dogma.

Some of his movies since then have been, it’s fair to say not so much to my taste, but this weekend I found myself watching Clerks 3.

I came to Clerks 3 without the benefit/hindrance of having seen Clerks 2. I won’t give away too many spoilers. The film is centred on Kevin Smith’s own life as it deals with the character Randall having a near-fatal heart attack, something which happened to Smith in 2018 the Amy Sedaris character Dr Ladenheim who saves Randall’s life was named after the Doctor who saved him. After nearly dying Randall decides he wants to make a film, and he effectively films Clerks.

It was nice to see so many characters from the original Clerks film either back in main roles or in cameos. There is an audition scene that reads a bit like a who’s who of both people who have been in previous View Askewniverse movies, and people he has worked with on TV in recent years.

Kevin Smith movies aren’t for everyone and they have a crudity and childishness that many don’t like, but that sits OK with me. There was a lot I enjoyed in this and it was a nice return to the world of Clerks as I had the original film and the animated series on DVD, many years ago. I did have to look at the Wikipedia entry for Clerks 2 to see what I’d missed and discovered one of the big plot points that I had assumed had happened in Clerks 2 hadn’t and had happened between 2 & 3.

The thing that surprised me was that there were times it was genuinely touching, between the dick jokes there were some real emotions and a treatise on friendship. It felt like it was Smith’s love letter not only to his past but to many of the people and characters that made it happen.

I wasn’t sure what I’d think of this and whilst it was certainly no Dogma (though I loved the Dogma reference with the Buddy Christ kites) it surprised me by how emotionally invested I seemed to be in Dante and Randall. If you have enjoyed previous Kevin Smith films then I think there’s plenty to like. If you haven’t seen a Kevin Smith movie, and probably more specifically Clerks then you might find it harder going (you might not, it might just click!) and I feel that you would definitely miss some of the references. If you have seen, and enjoyed a previous View Askewniverse film, and know who Jay and Silent Bob are then I think it’s definitely worth a watch! Also in terms of my fandom, there’s a Doctor Who joke!

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