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Mallrats: 10th Anniversary Extended Edition

Review Written by: Will Penley
Film: A (Theatrical Version)/B+ (Extended Version)
Video/Audio/Extras: A/A/A

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

I'm going to start off this review with a word of wisdom. Don't always trust the critics. Upon the original theatrical release of Mallrats, it was bashed over and over again by the critics and, in effect, tanked at the box office. But little did anyone know that it would later become a huge hit on video and, as director Kevin Smith says, the "access film" for View Askew. See? What do the critics know? Needless to say, this has to be one of the most underrated films in history.

Brodie (Jason Lee) is a slacker who just wants to read his comic books and play his Sega all day. His girlfriend, Rene (Shannen Doherty), fed up with his laziness and bad attitude, has finally decided to dump him and move on. T.S. (Jeremy London) is Brodie's polar opposite. He's a college student in a serious relationship with another student, Brandi (Claire Forlani). However, Brandi has decided to call it quits with T.S. on this same day. After this whole ordeal, Brodie and T.S. try to find solace at the local mall, where they encounter a variety of diverse characters, such as Willam (Ethan Suplee), who is obsessed with finding the hidden image in a three-dimensional picture, Shannon (Ben Affleck), the owner of a men's clothing store in the mall, outlandish drug dealers Jay and Silent Bob (Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith) and others.

I really enjoyed this movie. Quite honestly, I don't know why the critics treated it the way they did. I mean, with the exception of being shot in color, Mallrats is basically Clerks set in a mall. This is, by no means, a bad movie. Flawed, perhaps, but definitely not a bad movie. A big A for the movie.

This review is for Universal's 10th Anniversary Extended Edition of the movie, which includes both the original theatrical cut and the newly-edited extended cut. The 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen video on either cut of the film is very good, and is a noticeable improvement from the video on the original release, with some annoying scratches and grain all cleaned up and nowhere to be found. All the dialogue and music is extremely clear and noise-free in the Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks on both cuts. Both technical departments get an A.

This is a dual-sided disc, with the extras spread across both sides. The best extra on side one is the audio commentary by director Smith, producer Scott Mosier, actors Jason Mewes, Ben Affleck and Jason Lee and View Askew historian Vincent Pereira. This has to be one of the funniest commentary tracks ever recorded. Some say it's the Affleck factor that make View Askew commentaries so great and I'm beginning to agree with them. There is a brand-new making-of documentary on side one, entitled "The Erection of an Epic: The Making of Mallrats", which includes brand-new interviews with the cast and crew. This documentary isn't as good as "Snowball Effect" from the Clerks DVD, but it's pretty good nevertheless. Next up there's a reel of on-set cast and crew interviews, along with a ten-minute Q&A with Kevin Smith, which never fails to bring a smile to my face. Eight minutes of outtakes have also been included, the funniest ones being with Jason Lee or Jason Mewes. There's a featurette carried over from the original DVD called "View Askew's Look Back at Mallrats", which mainly focuses on how the film tanked at the box office. Rounding out the disc's extras are a large collection of production photographs, a music video for Build Me Up Buttercup by The Goops and the film's original theatrical trailer.

The extended cut of the movie is on side two. There's about thirty minutes of excised footage in this new cut, and it doesn't help the movie at all, especially a twenty-minute opening (called the Animal House opening) that runs very long and isn't that funny. It's nice to see all this deleted material, anyway, most notably a long-lost shot of Ben Affleck from the end of the movie. I have to give the extended cut a B+. It's good for a one-time watch, but you'll probably stick to the theatrical cut after that.

There's only one extra on this side, but it's a fantastic one. For the release of this DVD, a fifty-minute Q&A with cast and crew was shot and it's a riot. Just like the Q&A for the Clerks DVD, it's filled with hilarious stories and moments that are just gold. I should also note that there are several easter eggs on both sides of the disc. The extras get an A.

I highly recommend this DVD. With two versions of a great film, outstanding video and audio quality, and a large collection of supplements, you really can't go wrong here. Just remember to stay off the escalator, kids.

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