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6 Degrees Entertainment

'Mall Rats: Special Edition'
(Kevin Smith, Jason Mewes, Shannen Doherty, Jeremy London, Jason Lee, et al / 2-Disc Blu-ray / NR / (1995) 2020 / Arrow Video - MVD Visual)

Overview: Simultaneously dumped by their girlfriends, comic book obsessive Brodie (Jason Lee) and best friend TS (Jeremy London) plan to ease the pain of their losses by taking take a trip to the local mall.

Amongst shoppers, they discover the mall is being used as the venue for a dating show, in which TS’s girlfriend Brandi is the star.

Hatching a plan to win back their significant others, Brodie and TS enlist the help of professional delinquents Jay and Silent Bob to hijack the gameshow in a bid to win back Brandi.

Blu-ray Verdict: Featuring a cast including Joey Lauren Adams, Ben Affleck, who would go on to be recurring collaborators in Smith’s movies, 'Mallrats' celebrates its 25th Anniversary in this limited edition set boasting a brand new restoration and hours of bonus content.

In my humble opinion, 'Mallrats,' Kevin Smith's second and most maligned film until 'Jersey Girl,' isn't really that much of a stretch from 'Clerks.'

Mostly it just feels like a movie that got taken away from its creator by the studio system trying to make it more marketable - every filmmaker has at least one such experience.

Still, Smith's comedic brilliance shines through in the writing. Characters are still aimless losers with nothing better to do than hang out and have epic conversations about meaningless nonsense.

One of my favorite such discussions revolves around whether the cookie bakery is regarded as part of the food court, and another pontificates on Superman's romantic life.

As with 'Clerks,' the protagonists are experiencing miniature crises with their girlfriends, the resolution of which leads to the obvious but not heavy-handed moral Smith always interjects in his films.

My only real complaint is the artificially "feel-good" ending, which feels too trite and sensational for what had, for the previous seventy minutes or so, been such a down-to-earth, slice-of-life comedy.

It's like a bad Adam Sandler movie, the kind that always seems to end with cheering crowds and joyfully tearful make-up smooches. The bad guy gets his comeuppance, the lovable characters go on to fame and fortune, and everything is wrapped up in a neat little package.

One of the things I love about 'Clerks' was that the ending, while resolving the conflict, ends without tying all the loose ends together.

While Smith generically employs happy endings, they usually don't feel quite as predictable and saccharine. I've never heard him speak out on the subject, but I get the feeling the new ending was probably tacked on as the result of poor test screenings, or changed at the script stage because of the asinine notes studios like to give to more inexperienced indie directors.

That all said, the cast is great. Jason Lee, of course, steals every scene he's in, even though he's supposed to be the "sidekick" here.

He's a talented actor, and it's too bad that, with the possible exception of 'The Incredibles' and 'My Name is Earl' (I've only seen a few episodes), he's never been utilized quite as effectively as he is in a Kevin Smith movie.

Jason Mewes, mercifully, retains the role of Jay in spite of the studio's wishes, and is as always a foul-mouthed fireball of energy.

Joey Lauren Adams is suitably adorable, even in her role as a cheating ex-Shannen Doherty is wonderfully spirited and appropriately irritable without coming across as shrewish or horrible.

Jeremy London performs his "straight man" role admirably, though since his job is to react to the lunacy around him more than participate in it, the audience never sympathizes with him the way we should (perhaps a bit of underwriting on Smith's part).

The beautiful Claire Forlani is cute enough, but her performance feels sort of flat for some reason.

In closing, 'Mallrats,' while it definitely suffers from a sophomore slump, is still a great entry in the Jersey Chronicles, and has more than enough redemptive qualities to put it in a league far above 90% of most studio comedies. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

-Brand new restoration by Arrow Films of both the Theatrical and Extended cuts of the film, approved by director Kevin Smith and cinematographer David Klein.
-Newly assembled TV cut of the film featuring hilarious overdubbing to cover up profanity
-High Definition (1080p) Blu-ray presentations
-Collector’s booklet featuring new writing by Philip Kemp
-Fold out poster featuring replica blueprints for ‘Operation Drive-by’ and ‘Operation Dark Knight’

DISC ONE – Theatrical and Extended Cuts
-Original DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround audio
-Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
-Audio commentary with director Kevin Smith, producer Scott Mosier, archivist Vincent Pereira, and actors Jason Lee, Ben Affleck, and Jason Mewes
-Brand new introduction to the film by Kevin Smith
-My Mallrat Memories – and all-new interview with Kevin Smith
-A newly filmed tribute to producer Jim Jacks by Kevin Smith
-Brand new interview with actor Jason Mewes
-Brand new interview with Cinematographer David Klein
-Hollywood of the North: A newly produced animated making-of documentary featuring Minnesota crew members who worked on the film
-Deleted Scenes – Kevin Smith and Vincent Pereira discuss deleted scenes and sequences originally cut from the film
-Outtakes and behind the scenes footage
-Cast interviews from the original set
-Erection of an Epic: The making of Mallrats – archival retrospective with cat and crew looking at the making and release of the film
-Q&A with Kevin Smith – archival Q&A filmed for the 10th anniversary
-Build Me Up Buttercup music video
-Stills galleries
-Theatrical Trailer

DISC TWO – TV Cut
Newly assembled TV cut of the film featuring hilarious overdubbing to cover up profanity
-Original stereo audio
-Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
-Brand new introduction to the TV cut by director Kevin Smith
-Stills gallery of the comic books featured in the film’s opening sequence
-‘Easter Eggs’

Amazon Purchase Link

Original Trailer

www.MVDvisual.com





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