MALLRATS (1995) 

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Shannon Doherty
Jeremy London
Jason Lee
Claire Forlani
Ben Affleck
Joey Lauren Adams
Renee Humphrey
Jason Mewes
Michael Rooker

Kevin Smith



Time: 94 mins.
Rating: R
Genre: Comedy/Romance

Kevin Smith may not be the best physical filmmaker in the business, but he is one of the more original ones. His four films manage to take ordinary, everyday topics (except DOGMA) and bring something different and hysterical to each. Many people may find his films offensive (especially DOGMA) because of the subject matter and the cursing, but I find him brilliant. At least he has a point-of-view and something to say. The foul language though excessive at points, especially in CLERKS, is part of the characters and the story. Plus, it's damn funny. MALLRATS, because it was a studio film, is more toned down, more mass-market and that's why it isn't as funny as his other work. One doesn't need to swear to be funny, but there's no one out there that makes it as clever as Smith. MALLRATS just doesn't have the edge of his other work, but it is about a young adults hanging out in a mall, so I guess one shouldn't be to picky. As a teen romantic comedy, it's pretty funny and clever, much more so than the general remake junk being forced onto the market currently. MALLRATS is kind of a slightly more adult AMERICAN PIE.

Like most of Smith's films, the plot is fairly simple. Boys get dumped by girls. Boys spend the rest of the film trying to win them back. In this case, the boys are played by Jeremy London and Smith staple actor Jason Lee. T.S. and Brodie are simple guys without much ambition who just want to be with their ladies. Their women, Brandi (played by Claire Forlani) and Rene (played by Shannon Doherty) want a little bit more out of life and their men. A future would be a good start. Devastated by the breakups, T.S. and Brodie go to the local mall to drown their sorrows in some comic book shopping and food court snacking. When they arrive, they discover that Brandi's father's game show will be filming at the mall later that day. It's because of the show that T.S. and Brandi broke up, so the guys enlist the help of Jay and Silent Bob, mallrats themselves, to make sure the show does not go on. Meanwhile, Brodie confronts Rene and discovers that she's already started dating. What really hurts is she's dating the mall's biggest arrogant bastard (played by Ben Affleck) who is constantly trying to kick Brodie's ass. Though Brodie swears he's over her, he can't let Rene go without a fight.

It's at this point that the plot gets a little convoluted and absurd, but that's what makes it fun. The gentlemen get into all sorts of trouble with the mall cops, the real cops, consult a topless fortune teller, try to destroy the stage, etc, etc, etc., all in an effort to regain the hearts of their true loves. The film really isn't as romantic as this may sound, but it does have it's lovey-dovey moments. Jason Lee is wonderfully funny as the bitter, angry Brodie who just wants his life to go back to the way it was – collecting comics, playing video games and occasionally sleeping with his girlfriend. T.S. is trying to move forward into adulthood by marrying Brandi. Jay and Silent Bob are just trying to save the day for their friends. In the end, everyone gets what they want and justice is served. As in most of Smith's films, it ends the way you expect, it's just the road he takes to get there is off the beaten path.

The acting in this movie may not be the best you'll ever see, but at least the characters are different from your average teen flick. At least the male ones anyway. Claire Forlani isn't given much to do except act mopey and upset, Joey Lauren Adams has some funny scenes, but she only has about 15 minutes screen time. The one who does the most with her part is Shannon Doherty. She was definitely the most famous cast member when this film was initially released and she really gives Rene intelligence and humor. I never thought I would give her praise for a performance, but she stands up to Jason Lee's shenanigans and that's not easy to do. Jason Mewes is great as the irrepressible, foul-mouthed, horny Jay. He shows a sweeter side in MALLRATS than he does in CLERKS, thank goodness. Though he still steals the show. What can one say about Smith's character Silent Bob except funny, funny, funny. The film is a bit choppy and uneven, but it's still better than most teen comedies out there. Take a chance on MALLRATS. You just might be surprised by how much you like it. It's definitely better than most critics gave it credit for.

"Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned for Sega."

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