Thursday, October 4, 2012

Food Courted: "Mallrats" (1995)



I have never been a big Kevin Smith fan. I thought "Clerks" was dull and "Chasing Amy" overpraised. When he apologized for this film, calling it his worst, I expected to be thoroughly trashing it right now. Actually, it's pretty funny...

Best friends Jason Lee and Jeremy London break up with their respective girlfriends in the same day. Lee is dumped by Shannen Doherty, who takes up with the mall men's store manager Ben Affleck. London is dumped by Claire Forlani, whose father Michael Rooker is hosting a game show that she must participate in.

Conveniently, the "Dating Game"-type show is being taped at the mall. Enter the cult heroes Jay and Silent Bob, who are recruited to sabotage the game show so that London can get back with Forlani. Lee has issues of his own, since Affleck is also looking to kill him. Most of the film takes place in the mall the two hang out at, as they recruit other mallrats into their plans, with the final game show providing the climax of the film.

There is a lot here that is very funny. Jason Lee is very likable in the role of a jerk slacker who really says what we all think. London is okay as his subdued friend. Priscilla Barnes will make you forget those late night "Three's Company" reruns as the topless psychic with three nipples...don't ask. The film moves at a quick, energetic pace. Even comic book guru Stan Lee is entertaining in a small role as himself.

The not so good? Doherty and Forlani are not given much more to do than look exasperated at their former boyfriends. They are easily interchangeable, and did not make much of an impression.

Also, Smith gives some of his actors mouthfuls of dialogue that has no reasonable comparison to actual speech, and his cast almost lose their breath trying to spit out sentences that make mine look like three word quotable quotes. Michael Rooker is all wrong as a TV game show host, he looks like a neo-Nazi.

This movie is so goofy, and often foul mouthed, but considering the junk out there now like "Road Trip" and the "American Pie" series, it is also funny. Smith should not apologize, we should thank him for an entertaining ninety six minutes. I recommend Mallrats." (* * * *) out of five stars. Watch this movie now!: Mallrats