A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that there is more swearing in Clerks than at a convention of longshoremen. It's presented in the form of natural conversational rhythm, rather than as epithets. There are no depictions of sex, but it's discussed explicitly. Events and topics of note such as oral sex, masturbation, pornography, a death off screen, hermaphrodism, drinking, drugs, a child purchasing cigarettes, and an inadvertent case of necrophilia, make this film exceedingly inappropriate for kids under 17.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
CLERKS takes place over a day in the life of two characters. Dante (Brian O'Halloran) is a convenience store clerk and Randall (Jeff Anderson) is a video store employee. Randall is a potty-mouthed, porn-obsessed, poet/philosopher who constantly visits Randall at work. Dante and Randall spend most of their time ditching work to attend to more important endeavors like playing street hockey on the store's roof. The two main female characters, Veronica (Marilyn Ghigliotti) and Caitlin (Lisa Spoonhauer), are both independent, no-nonsense, and seek to better their lives through education. People talk (mostly about sex). Relationships surge and falter. Much like real life, there is palpable boredom.
Is it any good?
Clerks is structured episodically, driven more by dialogue than plot, and the acting is a bit amateurish at times. But when dialogue like Randall's monologues -- piercing and brutally fresh –- are presented to the audience, all is forgiven. In addition to the Filmmaker's Trophy at Sundance, Clerks also won the Prix de la Jeunesse at Cannes. Not bad for a low-budget ($27,000) independent feature by a writer/director/editor/producer/actor from Jersey.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Dante and Randal's work ethic and their relationships with women. Which characters represent a positive life direction and which ones appear to be going nowhere? Parents and kids might find the production of the film interesting due to its large success and low budget. They might compare the director's passion and tenacity with the attitudes of Dante and Randal.
- In theaters: October 19, 1994
- On DVD or streaming: June 29, 1999
- Cast: Brian O'Halloran, Jason Mewes, Jeff Anderson
- Director: Kevin Smith
- Studio: Miramax
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 92 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: appeal for extensive use of extremely explicit sex-related dialogue
- Last updated: September 17, 2020
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