Plot: What’s it about?
The overwhelming success of “Clerks” did a few things: first of all it put Kevin Smith on the map and it led to his second feature…”Mallrats”. I’m one of the few people who liked “Mallrats” and though it seems a bit immature some ten years later, I do still think it has some funny moments. Like any Director with a huge budget, major studio (Universal) and lots of time on his hands Smith’s “Mallrats” was pretty much ignored by audiences and bashed by the critics. I mean c’mon…it wasn’t that bad! The movie starred Jason Lee, Shannon Doherty and Ben Affleck (pre-“Armageddon”, of course) just to name a few. Naturally all of Smith’s buddies were in the movie and Smith and stoner pal Jason Mewes reprised their role of Jay and Silent Bob in a much more comedic format (something which was made fun of in other Smith movies). In the commentary track, Smith admits that “Mallrats” was his favorite movie most likely because he hadn’t seen it as much as the rest of his films. Ok, that makes sense – but it’s likely that this movie won’t really stand the test of time. And while we’re on the subject of timing, do you think a reason why this is being released is because Jason Lee is set to star in “My Name is Earl”, a new sitcom being shown on NBC (who owns Universal pictures and who distributed this movie)? Hmmm…conspiracy theories will abound I’m sure.
Nevertheless, “Mallrats” does have a plot, though a thin one at that. T.S. Quint (Jeremy London) is set to propose to his girlfriend Brandi (Claire Forlani) at the Universal theme park; however before that can happen he’s dumped. Best friend Brodie (Jason Lee) is also dumped by his (Shannon Doherty) and decides to head to the mall to deal with their problems. Rene (Doherty) is already dating someone else, an arrogant retail salesman (Ben Affleck) and the two play a cat and mouse game throughout the day. Luckily for us, Jay and Silent Bob are at the mall and are wreaking havoc for no apparent reason. The main thing going on, though, is a game show of sorts that sets up eligible bachelors on a dream date with…you guessed it – Rene. Quint figures that if he can get on the game show, he’ll be able to prove his love for Rene and they’ll live happily ever after. Naturally a lot of road blocks are in the way with a security guard, Stan Lee and plenty of physical comedy. If the plot sounds a bit mundane, it’s because it is…the movie really isn’t that bad, but watching is some years later I didn’t really see why I liked it so much. Still, Jason Lee is in rare form and to see where Ben Affleck has gone from here is proof in itself.
Video: How does it look?
“Mallrats” is shown in the theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and the image, for the most part, looks pretty good. I found it to be on par with the previous version issued some six years ago and though the extended edition does have a few ups and downs – on the whole it’s a solid looking transfer. A majority of the scenes take place in side, ok well…most all the scenes take place inside and the detail level is good. I didn’t really notice any major flaws, aside from the image looking a wee bit soft in some places. A good-looking transfer and certainly a departure from the grainy-looking film of “Clerks” (granted, that movie was supposed to look that way).
Audio: How does it sound?
The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack has a few moments, but none that really stand out. A few of the effects (Silent Bob crashing through the wall, etc.) make use of the surrounds but for the most part the action takes place in the front stage. Dialogue is clean and clear, free of any distortion and the Weezer song “Suzanne” played at the end, sounds just great. On par with most comedies, soundtrack-wise, this sounds a bit better than average.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This “10th Anniversary Edition” contains a lot of the same features that were present on the previous disc. Personally I liked the art for the previous disc as well and I bought my copy and had it signed by Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes themselves – so I’ll probably just take the disc out and put it in the old case. Who cares, right? At any rate, the major draw here is that this contains the extended cut of the movie running about 30 minutes longer than the original theatrical cut. This is the same “additional” footage that was present on the older disc, but the difference is that this has been added back into the movie. The only other new features are a few featurettes, starting with “View Askew’s Look Back at ‘Mallrats’” which is just that. Kevin Smith, Producer Scott Mosier along with Jason Lee, Jason Mewes and Ben Affleck take a look back at the making of the movie. They seemed to have a good time doing it and even with the big star that Ben Affleck has become, it was nice to see him present here. Then again, Kevin Smith is essentially responsible for making Ben Affleck a star – so I’d have been ticked if Affleck hadn’t shown! “The Erection of an Epic – The Making of ‘Mallrats’” is a behind the scenes featurette offering some “inside scenes”. While it has Smith’s darker side, this is really the same stuff that’s found on every DVD out there. The rest of the supplements are essentially the same from the previous disc. The music video “Build Me Up Buttercup”, commentary track with Smith, Lee, Mewes, Affleck, Scott Mosier and Vincent Pereira is intact (and is the old version, not a new one). Lastly, there is a “Mallrats” the Reunion in which the audience asks questions at a screening of the movie. This, admittedly, is pretty cool. All in all, a hardcore fan will buy this regardless of what I say as Kevin Smith fans are pretty loyal. If you’re really wanting this extended cut of the movie, then this disc is for you – otherwise I’d say hold on to the older version.