As noted in the Clerks review, I’m a Kevin Smith fan. His humor and dialogue work for my taste and Mallrats was the film that first brought me in as I grew up a mallrat. This review is not only discussing the original theatrical release, but the extended version I watched today for the first time. Mallrats is my personal favorite Kevin Smith film, however, I’d say it likely falls into the Not Quite Golden, Ponyboy rating.
TS Quint (Jeremy London) and his friend Brodie (Jason Lee) venture to the local mall after being dumped by their respective girlfriends Brandi Svenning (Claire Forlani) and Rene (Shannon Doherty). After finding motivation, both men attempt to prove their love and regain the ladies they lost.
I’ve had the Blu-ray edition 1990s best of the decade version of Mallrats for a while, but didn’t make it to the extended version until today. I’ve seen many movies claiming to have an extended version, but often that just features a few scenes inserted into the film. What I got from this was a version of Mallrats I didn’t know existed where a much deeper storyline is played out for Quint and Brandi than in the original theatrical release.
The version that I’ve seen tons of times starts with Quint arriving to pick Brandi up to go to Florida only to find out that Julie Dwyers, who is supposed to be the contestant on the dating game rip-off, has died after Quint warned her about how cameras adding 10lbs. Brandi is taking her spot. The significance of that girl’s death is also a major scene in Clerks as they go to Dwyers funeral and in Chasing Amy she is referenced as the girl who died from their school. In the extended version there is no mention of Julie at all. Instead, Quint and Brandi are accused of an assassination attempt on the governor. That leads to a running joke throughout the film that is very reminiscent of Dante’s, “I’m not even supposed to be here today!”
While it was fun to watch the extended version, I definitely prefer the cut that made it to theaters. This film features other stars like Ben Affleck, Joey Lauren Adams, Jason Mewes, Ethan Suplee, Stan Lee, Priscilla Barnes, and Michael Rooker. Jason Lee is the stand out to me. It was my first encounter with him as an actor and I became an instant fan. His snappy comebacks and very quotable lines are often the funniest parts of the film.
Smith’s ability to infuse relationship stories into the main plot in very interesting and entertaining ways. For example, Clerks has Dante juggling three loves: Veronica, Caitlin, and Randall. All of the relationships are important to Dante and how they intertwine and interact with one another is a major element of the story. In Mallrats, while both guys are trying to fix their relationships, the bromance between the two also grows.
My favorite scene in Mallrats has to be the introduction of Trish the Dish to Quint. The story of her book, Borgasm, is crazy enough, but the entire time Brodie is obsessing with a kid sitting on the escalator. The interaction between the three characters demonstrates Kevin Smith’s ability to write dialogue effectively. It’s one of the reason Smith is on my top five list of directors with Tarantino as I’m a fan for well written dialogue.
I love every part of Mallrats, specifically the original cut, but I also enjoyed seeing how it could have played out. Unfortunately, I don’t think this movie will land for everyone, but if you like lots of nerdy references with Man of Steel coital debates and hypothetical questions of super heroes’ sex organs than this movie is for you.