Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Movie and DVD Reviews: The best and not-so-best movies available on DVD, and whatever else catches my eye.

Mimsy Review: Mallrats

Reviewed by Jerry Stratton, August 17, 2000

Impossible, the Easter Bunny court is at the other end of the mall. It’s been up since two days after Christmas.

Special features

Cast Information6
Commentary Track9
Deleted Scenes7
Making Of6
Music Video8
Production Notes6
Production Photographs4

This is Kevin Smith’s sequel to “Clerks”, with a massively bigger budget but still tiny compared to other movies. (He wanted to reduce the budget to lower than six million, and the studio told him they weren’t allowed to make a movie for less than that.) I’m not sure why, but it apparently bombed. It’s a funny movie. If you’re a Marvel Comics fan from the eighties, or if you just liked “Clerks”, check it out.

RecommendationPossible Purchase
DirectorKevin Smith
WriterKevin Smith
Movie Rating6
Transfer Quality8
Overall Rating8
  • Enhanced Widescreen

First off, Kozmo.Com’s rental period sucks. Three nights for two videos is way too short. I got four hours of sleep last night because I had to hurry and watch the entire DVD: movie, movie with commentary, making of, and deleted scenes. On the plus side, both movies I rented came in the full packaging, including the liner notes. (“The Apostle” even came with the card adverts for things like “Home Theater Magazine” still inside.) Mallrats had better liner notes than most although not up to “The Apostle” or “Hair”.

This almost looked like a “Dazed and Confused” reunion at first, but one of the actors only looked liked a “Dazed” actor. Actor Jeremy London plays “T.S.” and looks a lot like his older brother, Jason London, “Pink” from “Dazed and Confused”. Jeremy and Jason not only look like each other, they have very similar mannerisms and voices. Also present is Joey Lauren Adams as T.S.’s ex-girlfriend who didn’t really cheat on him because she had a really good excuse.

The movie apparently takes place “the day before Clerks in the continuity”. This was mentioned only in passing, and I don’t see where it matters. Someone related to Dante Hicks shows up (he gives his name as Gil Hicks, but it’s the same actor), and while driving around they pass a convenience store that looks a lot like the convenience store in “Clerks”. But there don’t seem to be any continuity tie-ins. (If you saw any, let me know.)

“Mallrats” is filled with puns and bad jokes, some good, some bad, some obviously punch lines but missing the story. In the first scenes at the mall is a carpeteria called “Rug Munchers”. “The worst joke in the movie,” said Kevin Smith on the commentary, not least of which because the rest of the joke was lost when the original opening sequence was scrapped in because it was too long. Jason Lee’s character is obsessed with other people’s sex lives (mostly superheroes’ sex lives, but it may figure in) and does the original voiceover.

Too many good quotes in this movie. “Be fair alright, everyone wants Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.”

Basic story: two friends (T.S. and Brodie) are dumped by their girlfriends, so they go to the mall to hang out all day.

This is listed as a “Special Edition”, and damn if it isn’t! There’s a great audio commentary with Kevin Smith, Ben Affleck, Jason Lee, Jason Mewes, Scott Mosier (the producer), and Vincent Pereira (View Askew’s “official historian”). And not only an audio commentary, but if you turn on the “alternate angles”, you occasionally get an inset of the guys sitting behind a table eating junk food as they’re talking! Very nice use of the DVD format’s special features. The commentary is very interesting without that, but seeing them talk, while it doesn’t give any extra information, adds a human touch to the comments. Although I suspect Kevin Smith wanted it made plainly clear that he’d lost weight since the movie was made.

The “making of” feature has a great quote about the movie. It seems this movie flopped when it came out, and everyone working on it (except Jason Lee) got disillusioned by it. So they’re kind of self-deprecating in various points. “There’s a commentary, there’s all that extra footage as well, that gets reserved for classy pictures and we’re doing it for Mallrats.”

Apparently it was strangely re-edited for television, for example the scene with the tits wasn’t cut out, but they didn’t show the tits and so no one had any idea what was going on. “That got cut out of the TV version.” “Everything got cut out of the TV version.”

“Universal called it a smart Porky’s. We need movies with tits.”

“For the laserdisc people, welcome to side two. For the DVD people, thank you for not turning it off yet.”

There are two production notes: the liner notes included as a fold-out with the DVD (two pages), and a bit more on the DVD.

The packaging claims “over one hour of deleted scenes”, which is sort of true, but this includes a lot of overlap with the movie. Still, the deleted scenes are interesting, especially because Vincent Pereira and Kevin Smith introduce each one and explain why it was changed or what was wrong with it.

Overall, this was a funny film with some good acting, and neat little twisty schticks. If you liked Clerks or Dogma, you should see it just so you can see Jay and Silent Bob. If you need a good movie to watch tonight, rent it. If you’re already a fan, you definitely need this DVD. Kevin Smith was right: they really gave this film the royal treatment. I recommend it.

Recommendation: Possible Purchase

DirectorKevin Smith
WriterKevin Smith
ActorsJason Lee, Shannen Doherty, Jeremy London, Claire Forlani, Ben Affleck, Joey Lauren Adams, Renée Humphrey, Jason Mewes, Ethan Suplee, Kevin Smith
Spoken languagesEnglish, French
Special FeaturesCast Information, Commentary Track, Deleted Scenes, Making Of, Music Video, Production Notes, Production Photographs, Trailer
More links

If you enjoyed Mallrats…

For more about Jason Lee, you might also be interested in Almost Famous.

For more about Jason Mewes, you might also be interested in Clerks.

For more about Kevin Smith, you might also be interested in Clerks.