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Mallrats: 10th Anniversary Extended Edition

Review Written by: Estefan Ellison
Film: A
Video/Audio/Extras: B+/A-/A+

Directed by: Kevin Smith
Written by: Kevin Smith
Produced by: Sean Daniel, James Jacks and Scott Mosier
Starring: Jeremy London, Jason Lee, Shannen Doherty, Jason Mewes, Kevin Smith, Ethan Suplee, Claire Forlani
Buy it!, Buy it, rent it or skip it: Buy it!

What do you do after you make a independent film for under $27,000 and it becomes a big hit? Do you disappear off the face of the earth like those teenagers who made The Blair Witch Project? Do you choose to make a big Oscar contender starring John Travolta like Quentin Tarantino did with Pulp Fiction? Or do you just move to another studio, raise the budget to $5 million and get some more twenty-somethings? The third option was what Kevin Smith (the director of the very funny Clerks) did. He went from Miramax to Universal Pictures and started what many people in the industry thought would be a surefire hit entitled Mallrats. In fact, Smith says on the DVD extras that a couple of people told that it would be his Pulp Fiction. Unfortunately, the critics panned it and Mallrats flopped at the box office. That meant him saying so long to being named "Academy Award Winner Kevin Smith." However, it has since grown to become a well-deserved cult classic.

Taking place on the day before Clerks, T.S. Quint (Jeremy London) has just broken up with his girlfriend Brandi Svenning (Claire Forlani) due to a scheming plan by her father (Michael Rooker). At around the same time, Quint's best friend Brodie (Jason Lee) is dumped by his girlfriend Renee (Shannen Doherty) because of his obsession over video games. To make themselves feel better, Brodie and Quint take a trip to the local shopping complex for a day of eating food and buying comic books. When they find out that Mister Svenning is filming his latest game show there, they get a hold of the infamous Jay and Silent Bob (Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith) to put a stop to it all. Other crazy characters that they encounter include Willem (Ethan Suplee) whose trying to see a picture of a sailboat in a Magic Eye and the obnoxious clothes manager (Ben Affleck).

I usually agree with what the critics say, but here is an example of a film where I completely and utterly am ashamed with their panning. This is a sweet and touching piece of work with great characters and wonderful dialogue. I have to really give the praise to the performances from the actors, especially newcomer Jason Lee. He potrays Brodie as a great role model and is the Randal of Mallrats. He has the best lines and in the film and is the most enjoyable of the cast. Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith, reprsing their parts from Clerks, are also absolutely funny with Jay's wonderfully quotable lines (although I suggest not saying them in front of children) and Bob's Chaplinesque behaviour. I also have to give praise to the very underated Ethan Suplee for making the Mallrats Willem one of his most memorable characters. I'm happy with his success on My Name is Earl, because it will get him some more roles. Kevin Smith's screenplay is also delightful and completely unforgetable. Mallrats still doesn't beat Clerks, though.

Kevin Smith and Universal have made this new edition of Mallrats a double-sided affair. The first side features the original theatrical version, while the second side has the extended Mallrats (more on that later). Starting with Side 1, the first extra is a brilliant and very funny audio commentary with most of the cast and crew. This is one of the most entertaining commentaries that I have ever heard and I like how they keep referring to each as "Chasing Amy's Jason Lee" or "Phantoms' Ben Affleck." Many other great jokes arise as well. There's a half-hour documentary with everyone looking back at the film and talking about the making of it and what happened at the box office. The cast and crew also give some interesting archival interviews with them on the set in 1995. However, they run just a tad too short. Nonetheless, I have no major qualm with it.

There's also a very entertaining DVD Q&A with Kevin Smith. Sure there's no point in this because we have already purchased or rented the disc, but everything Smith says is a hoot, so I don't care. Then we are treated to the usual Universal blooper reel. A fun treat. There is another half-hour documentary about Mallrats and it is also very worth a look with funny comments from the cast and crew. Some promotional pieces end this side with a photo gallery, a very funny and informative music video and the trailer for Mallrats. It also opens with previews for The Blues Brothers, The Big Lebowski and Cry Wolf.

Side Two has an extended cut of the film which shows some history to the characters, but it's not as good as the final piece. It's nice and all, but I would have preferred it if Smith had kept them as deleted scenes. Finally, there's a Mallrats Q&A with most of the cast and crew. It's a very enjoyable fifty minutes which you will most likely watch over and over again. It's very impressive as well to see everyone ten years later. Ethan Suplee has especially changed a lot and it is commented on very humourously by Smith. So, overall, this is an amazing DVD for an amazing film. There's a wonderful transfer and a great batch of extras. Mallrats completely deserves the Buy it! that I'm going to give it.

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