Movie #298 2020: Mallrats (1995)

What do we need right now? Stupid movies that are purely there to entertain.

Mallrats is the 1995 sophomore movie from the now pretty famous Kevin Smith. Only Clerks came from his mind before this, and it sees the return of the brilliant Jay & Silent Bob. What’s this movie about? Pretty much nothing, really. Two high school dropouts (played by Jason Lee and Jeremy London) are dumped by their girlfriends, and the pair of them head to the mall to hang out to try and distract themselves. Of course, it wouldn’t be Kevin Smith without a bunch of ridiculous happenings, and stupidity begins to ensue.

Basically, this movie is the epitome of nineties slapstick stupidity… and I love it. 

Enjoying it way more than I thought I would, Mallrats has something that is lacking in young adult comedies nowadays: actual comedy. Kevin Smith writes actual jokes with actual punchlines that don’t rely on crudeness to be funny. As unrealistic as the dialogue may be, it only adds to the humour. Think Blackadder or The Marx Brothers, but in a modern day context. That’s the sort of slapstick you get here.

Somehow the themes here are simultaneously nihilistic yet also angsty, which makes way for a really original and fun tone. Not to mention the cast of young teen stars, who are exactly the bunch of people you’d want to see as a teen in the 90s. I mean, Shannen Doherty and Ben Affleck? The stuff of 1995 dreams. It’s actually pretty fun to see Affleck back in the day and not taking himself too seriously – he’d never accept this role today.

I can’t write this review without letting you in on this either: Stan Lee stars! A Stan Lee cameo is always welcome and he acts so well in this?! I know he’s playing himself but wow, what a guy. He’s not just there for the superfluous bit-part this time – he’s showing off his acting ability.

The whole thing loses focus at times, but it’s super enjoyable nevertheless. Plus, what a banging, nostalgic soundtrack. (Songs include Susanne by Weezer and Boogie Shoes by K.C. and the Sunshine Band, by the way.)

File this under “movies circa 90 minutes that are well worth your time.” Enjoyable, pointless fun.

Mallrats is available to stream on Netflix in the UK.

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