Clerks II

Kevin Smith movies are known for many things, but great soundtracks are not among them. Clerks II boldly attempts to break from that tradition, chiefly in its careful selection of a couple of key tunes that are either pertinent to the plot or theme of the film. That means this has the opening "(Nothing But) Flowers" -- where David Byrne mournfully reminiscences that he once was an angry young man, and how all the fields have turned into shopping malls, the very shopping malls where Dante and Randall now work -- and "ABC," which provides an incongruous but welcome dance celebration in the middle of the film. Apart from that, this is a pretty drab collection of alt-rock, hip-hop, and incidental music spiked with some bon mots from the film. Not bad, not great, but at least better than many Smith soundtracks, even if it doesn't quite best the original soundtrack that, while not good, at least captured the sound of '90s slackerdom -- this, in contrast, captures those Gen-Xers looking back and loving the '70s and '80s more than the '90s. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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