They also serve
Written and directed by Kevin Smith
Opening in March at the Kino, Melbourne
Reviewed by Chantal Wynter and Kelly Jean
Clerks is a hilarious film by 24-year-old first time director Kevin Smith. Based on the director's own experiences, it explores the lives, loves and ambitions of two cashiers at a New Jersey convenience store, Dante (Brian Halloran) and Randal (Jeff Anderson).
The day starts bleakly. On Dante's day off, he's called at 6am to "man" the store while his boss leaves town for a business trip. Dante finds himself caught up in whirlwinding customer chaos. Randal (video clerk at the store next door) arrives late, only to abandon his own position and harass Dante by insulting customers. Randal's view of the store is as "a pit stop of assorted loafers, layabout weirdos, ne'er-do-wells and derelicts".
Despite neither of the pair wanting to be at work, they make the best of it with their original plan of hockey "in play" — on the store's roof. Before the day is over Dante is fined for selling cigarettes to a four year old, a customer dies in the toilets and the investigating cop asks "So what sort of store are you really trying to operate here?"
After all this Dante feels he has resolved a debate about behaviour and status.
The storyline can be a little shallow, as it operates on one and not many levels. However, Clerks holds together with absurdist comedy, smutty gags and consistent low-key social gossipping which should appeal to the generation X junky.
Some may find scenes depicting women offensive,and at times the amateur cast is a bit of a boy's club. But Kevin Smith gains a lot of credit for the low budget wit and grunge appeal, making it not just a garage production. A profane look at the art of serving others.