Sunday, August 22, 2010

Review: God Awful = "Mallrats"

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 182 (of 2004) by Leroy Douresseaux

Mallrats (1995)
Running time: 94 minutes (1 hour, 34 minutes)
MPAA – R for strong language, including sexual dialogue, and for some scenes of sexuality and drug content
PRODUCERS: Sean Daniel, James Jacks, and Scott Mosier
EDITOR: Paul Dixon


Starring: Shannen Doherty, Jeremy London, Jason Lee, Claire Forlani, Ben Affleck, Joey Lauren Adams, Renee Humphrey, Jason Mewes, Ethan Suplee, Stan Lee, Michael Rooker, and Kevin Smith

Kevin Smith hit the almost inevitable sophomore slump with his awful film Mallrats. It the tale of two buddies, both dumped by their girlfriends on the same day. Brodie Bruce (Jason Lee) is a slacker comic book collector who lives in his mom’s basement, and his girl, Rene Mosier (Shannen Doherty), just can’t put up with being mostly ignored by Brodie for comics and videogames. T.S. Quint (Jeremy London) is an aimless college student who always fights with his girl, Brandi (Claire Forlani).

So Brodie and T.S. seek solace at the local mall, but they can’t get away from their girlfriends. Rene is there and has found a new boy toy in the form of Shannon Hamilton (Ben Affleck), a salesman at an upscale men’s clothing store, who is a bully to both friend and foe. Brandi is a replacement contestant on her father’s game show, an episode of which is filming at the mall, so Brodie and T.S. plot to ruin shoot. Meanwhile, Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Kevin Smith) are lurking about the mall, looking to cause mischief.

The dialogue that was so riotously funny in Clerks. turns to crap in Mallrats. It’s just line after line of meaningless filler that when spoken sounds awkward and unnatural. The actors are game and give it their best shot to make Smith’s words seem cool and witty, but it just comes out as noise. The script is so bad that it actually keeps the cast, for the most part, from being able to act at a professional level.

Smith is at his best when he takes a group of characters and gives them funny, insightful, and outrageous things to say. The moment he tries to construct a plot around the dialogue the scenario begins to crumble. And the more he tries to fit it into a plot or the more he tries to create a situation around the talking heads, the worse the movie gets, especially when the repartee is really more important than the plot. Smith began to solve this problem in his later films, but Mallrats is still trash.

2 of 10


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