Mallrats (1995)

“Wow, look at this long list of complaints; no sense of direction, no college ambition, no job prospects- -““Wow, look at this long list of complaints; no sense of direction, no college ambition, no job prospects- -“

“Wow, look at this long list of complaints; no sense of direction, no college ambition, no job prospects- -“

If you could have one conversation with Stan Lee would it be about superhero sex organs? Probably not. In fact if any of us could have one more conversation with Stan, I’m sure he’d settle for any topic. It’s almost certain 99% of the time when the budget gets significantly increased, a bigger film is guaranteed. Following the giant success of the indie classic Clerks, it’s obvious writer / director Kevin Smith would have a larger ground to play in. 

Mallrat’s budget is at least 1000 times larger than its predecessor with a nearly identical premise. Smith loves the take of the ‘single day anything can happen within the 24 hour day’ schtick. Somehow the characters introduced are the most undiscovered philosophical scribes on the eastern seaboard. Its wild to think that these people who don’t seem to have any ambition in life after high school have a larger vocabulary than most people with master’s degrees. 

But that’s the brilliance of Smith’s films and what makes them so beloved. He knows and understands how to write dialogue. Listening to any of his characters talk is a privilege because we know who wrote the words. The premise is just about the same as Clerks, two man children figuring out the secrets of life and relationships and why they don’t seem to know how either of them work. The story takes place in a mall this time around compared to a convenience and video store. With the increase in budget, a splash of color has been added to the film. Go to any mall of a weekend or a Friday night, you’ll find the group the film is titled after. People who go to the mall just to go. We’ve all seen them going from store to store not buying anything and taking up space unnecessarily. 

“Listen, not a year goes by, not a year, that I don’t hear about some escalator accident involving some bastard kid which could have easily been avoided had some parent – I don’t care which one – but some parent conditioned him to fear and respect that escalator.“

One thing Smith is able to do exceptionally well is capture the archetypes of people that go to the mall. Best friends T.S. (Jeremy London) and Brodie (Jason Lee) have been dumped simultaneously. Their reason to venture to the mall is for T.S. to try these out of this world new cookie; which they do. According to Shannon (Ben Affleck) a manager of a men’s fashion store, Brodie never buys anything when he goes to the mall, which in turn, pisses Shannon off to no end. All T.S. can think about is his now ex Brandi (Claire Forlani) and how to win her back. With the help of Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Kevin Smith), both T.S. and Brodie win back Brandi and Rene (Shannen Doherty). 

Mallrats’s success comes from the ability of Kevin Smith to be himself. His identity is all over this film with his love and appreciation for comic books and the world Stan Lee (playing himself, obviously) created. Although a mere cameo, Stan gives fantastic advice to the two buddies’ in the midst of their quarter life crisis’s. With a pretty thin plot, the film manages to keep your attention because of the effort put into the character work. Normally, these people wouldn’t be interesting at all in real life, but in a Kevin Smith film, these people are the most interesting people that have ever lived; and then there’s Stan Lee.  

Jay and Silent Bob are given a lot more responsibility and screen time in Smiths follow up. Turns out they’re more than just drug dealers posting up outside of a convenience store. They’re both loyal friends are are the heart and soul of this mini universe Kevin Smith has formed. Silent Bob makes it his life’s goal to use jedi mind tricks in some capacity and I mean can you blame him. Anyone and everyone who has witnessed a Star Wars film has attempted to move an object with their mind at one point in their lives; I definitely have. Even with the vocabularies of the Brodie and T.S., Silent Bob may be the most intelligent out of everyone.

“Adventure, excitement–a Jedi craves not these things“

Overall, Mallrats offers a pretty thin plot, an indie film feeling with a slightly larger budget and some incredible dialogue and script work. Kevin Smith is a master at vocabulary and it’s on display from the moment the film opens. It’s, thought provoking, witty, nerdy and unceremoniously raunchy. I love that Kevin Smith let his inner geek out in this film. The same archetypes as his feature debut are used but in a second film feel old and played out. Regardless, this film is a Kevin Smith film and thus has a cult following behind it, rooting for it to win non true believers over. If I were to rate Mallrats, I’d rate it a 2.8 out of 5. 

So, tell me guys, have you seen Mallrats and if so, what do you think about it? Do you agree or disagree with me? Comment below or send me an email and let me know what you think. 

Mallrats is written & directed by Kevin Smith is Rated R and has an 56% on Rotten Tomatoes. Mallrats was released on October 20th, 1995 and has a runtime of 1 hour and 35 minutes. Mallrats can be bought by online retailers such as iTunes, Google, Amazon and Vudu.

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*I do not own these photos used in this article; all rights reserved to the copyright holder*

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