I continue to see Kevin Smith's View Askew movies in backwards order, and my amazement in his skill continues to grow. Mallrats is equally funny to Chasing Amy, although it is much more of a comic book tale than the other ones I have seen.
Mallrats is about two college students who have suddenly found themselves single. One loves his ex-girlfriend and was on the verge of marrying her; the other doesn't seem to care, although he secretly does. As the day goes on, they learn that a love matching TV show is going to be filmed live in the mall and that that is going to be the only way they will be able to win back the hearts of their girls, but they have to make it through the day first.
Jason Lee, who was my favorite actor in Chasing Amy, has his same sarcastic wit in Mallrats. He's funny, loud, and obnoxious, but thoughtful at the same time. Jeremy London ("Party of Five") also stars as T.S., and he works as a good contradiction to his crazier friend. The female cast is also impressive, including Shannen Doherty, Claire Forlani, and Joey Lauren Adams (Alyssa in Chasing Amy), although she only has a small role. Doherty and Forlani work well as two very different characters, but it would have been nice to see a little more of them. Though you see it at the end, they never seem to distressed that they have broken up with the people that they love.
Jay and Silent Bob (Jason Mewes and director/writer Kevin Smith respectively) have a large role in Mallrats, although their comical contribution seems more active than in their later films. In Chasing Amy and especially in Dogma, all Jay does is swear. It's funny for a short time, but then gets old. In Mallrats, Jay is dancing around the mall and Silent Bob is repeatedly trying to sabotage the game show. They get chased by the police, beat the police, drug up some of the show's contestants, and more. I liked this kind of Jay and Silent Bob a lot better than the nonstop swearing machines (well, Silent Bob doesn't talk much) in Kevin Smith's later movies.
Mallrats won't appeal to everyone. It has a much more teenage oriented feel to it than Smith's later films, but it is still a pretty smart movie. There are tons of hilarious situations, and this one should not be missed.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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