After screening at Cannes to an eight-minute standing ovation, "Clerks II" is beginning to garner precious positive reviews from print and online critics, who have given Kevin Smith‘s latest film an 88% Unofficial Tomatometer rating.
The MGM release isn’t due in theaters until July 21, but early reviews from the pic’s Cannes debut and other sneak screenings are already trickling in. Among 8 early reviews, 7 are positive critiques that applaud Smith’s return to his raunchy roots, while the lone negative review (written by Kevin Smith enthusiast Phil Villareal) declares "Clerks II" an eagerly anticipated disappointment.
"After Jersey Girl, some felt that Smith had spunked his mojo, and heading back to Clerksworld could so easily have been a mad dash back to the comfort zone. It’s good to report, then, that Clerks II is what Smith does so well; it’s a tender, scabrous and very, very funny comedy that picks up 12 years after the original."
"Filled with tart dialogue and the kind of pop culture diatribes that propelled the original Clerks, this is a return to both the form and the substance that brought Smith to public attention in the first place."
"If ‘Clerks II’ doesn’t have quite the scabrous kick of its predecessor, the chance to revisit a classic premise must have renewed the writer in Smith, whose banter here often achieves a sharpness and quality that haven’t been in evidence since 1999’s ‘Dogma.’"
"The film’s problems are myriad. The new clerk, an ultraconservative Christian 19-year-old ‘Transformers’ and ‘Lord of the Rings’ geek played by Trevor Fehrman, is a sloppy caricature that strives and fails for the bizarro elegance of a Screech or an Urkel."
"The original was gleefully nasty for the sake of ingenious pop culture jabs, while the sequel, sadly, is raunchy for the sake of gag-inducing obscenity alone. The same is true about Smith’s trademark consumer satire."
The sequel to Smith’s indie breakout "Clerks" (85% on the Tomatometer) has the potential to bring up the cult fave director’s own Tomatometer ranking, which started out strong with 1994’s "Clerks," dipped with 1995’s "Mallrats" (58%), peaked with 1997’s "Chasing Amy" (93% Tomatometer), and subsequently declined following 1999’s "Dogma" (67%), 2001’s "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back" (53%), and 2004’s "Jersey Girl" (41%).