Notes from the back row 

With no power comes no responsibility

Whistler is a town that knows it all too well – serving people sucks. There’s something innately dehumanizing about knowing that you have to do whatever a total stranger asks/tells you. Sure, sure, the spin doctors at Tourism Whistler will tell you that our quiet mountain town is full of great employees that are just itching for the chance to make your stay here more pleasant. Truth is, keen counter staff are the exception, not the rule. Our dislike of being told what to do is instinctually rooted in our psyches, dating back to days of slavery and serfdom where a person could spend his whole life farming potatoes only to give most of the profit away to the church, or some evil lord who not only took all the best potatoes but would deftly snatch up the village hottie that you had your eye on too.

Nope, serving isn’t satisfying, it’s demeaning. But if you’re Kevin Smith and the characters in his latest flick Clerks 2, well it can also be fun, disgusting, and most of all hilarious.

Love him or hate him, Kevin Smith is a master of snappy dialogue and rude, yet endearing humour. If you didn’t like the first Clerks , Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, or Dogma you won’t be into his latest masterpiece.

I, however, am totally sold. Clerks 2 picks up where the original left off – in black and white at the Quik Stop with slackers Randall and Dante. Except 10 years have passed and the guys, now in their 30s, are watching their workplaces burn to the ground. They move into colour and get jobs at Moobies, a cow-based fast food joint (udderly delicious) and easily fall back into their old routine of pop culture debates, messing with customers, worrying about love (even with each other) and discussions on how, these days, you have to date teenagers if you want to go ass-to-mouth. Oh, and toss in some donkey sex for good measure.

Smith’s directing has always been criticized and it will be again here but the man is a maestro of intelligently crafted low-brow humour, and for Clerks 2 he’s injected a perfect dose of romance, dance numbers and poetic tenderness as well. Fear not, Jay and Silent Bob are back to ensure this is the funniest movie of the summer, plus it has Rosario Dawson bouncing around in a tight top. Go see it twice and sit through the end credits for a little bonus.

Sticking with good writing, of a slightly tamer sort, top-notch animated feature Monster House also opens Friday at the Village 8. Finally we’re presented with a kids movie that tells the real truth – adults are idiots and kids totally rule. It begins when mean-spirited Old Man Nebbercracker collapses and dies while screaming at some neighbourhood kids for walking on his lawn, and then things start to get creepy as his house comes alive and starts devouring toys, pets and even a couple of bumbling cops. Twelve year olds DJ, Chowder and Jenny use their kid smarts and save the day in this theme-park-ride-esque movie with all the best actors doing voices.

Writers Dan Harmon and Rob Schrab were making some of the best comic books of the late ’90s and together with Pamela Pettler they’ve come up with a spectacular adventure script peppered with kid characters that actually sound and act like kids. My sole complaint is if only this was live action rather than animation we’d have another Goonies on our hands.

Also opening is narcissistic, one-hit wonder M. Knight Shyamalan’s Lady in the Water . Forget it, Shyamalan’s Sixth Sense was great but since then he’d make a better clerk than a writer/director. No one serves better, pity he’s always serving himself.

AT VILLAGE 8 July 21-27: Clerks 2; Monster House; Lady in the Water; Click; Superman Returns; Pirates of the Caribbean; Cars; Devil Wears Prada; You, Me and Dupree.


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