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Mallrats: Tenth Anniversary Extended Edition

When Mallrats hit the screen in 1995, Kevin Smith an Indie auteur known for his low budget 1994 debut Clerks. And — as part of the independent movement at the time — Mallrats looked to be a betrayal of everything Miramax and Sundance stood for. Critically, Smith renewed himself with 1997's Chasing Amy, and as the years have passed Mallrats grew a cult audience to the point that Smith no longer looks down at the film — on this DVD he now mentions that Jersey Girl (2004) has become the red-headed stepchild of his oeuvre. With the would-be Indie Revolution now dead in the water, and with the resurgence of R-rated sex comedies (or as Smith calls them, Le Cinema du Tit), perhaps Smith's attempt at resuscitating the genre can be seen as a precursor to the American Pie films that followed, but as an entertainment, it remains his most successful light-hearted comedy. Mallrats follows Brodie Bruce (Jason Lee) and T.S. Quint (Jeremy London), spend their day at the shopping mall after their respective girlfriends Rene (Shannon Doherty) and Brandi (Claire Forlani) have dumped them. Both still have feelings for their ladies — for Quint, with Brandi's father Jared (Michael Rooker) planning to shoot a live TV game show at the mall with Brandi as the prize; for Brodi, Renee's dating of "Fashionable Male" store manager Ashley Hamilton (Ben Affleck) is enough to make them tip their hand and try to get their ladies back. Until Jersey Girl, Mallrats was Smith's best-shot film. And for a genial effort, it is rather amusing — more in line with the films of John Landis than Porky's or Revenge of the Nerds. The best thing to come out of the movie is the career of Jason Lee, who — due to a string of less-than-successful leading roles — has become as close as the '90s came to producing its own Bruce Campbell. Lee shines in his first lead role, stealing the movie and just as ready to argue over his girlfriend as the definition of what a "food court" is. Indeed, Smith seems the best director for Lee, who has since taken too many roles that neuter his jerkish charm to less interesting results. Paradoxically, it is the film's theatrical failure that earned it cult status, since it earned little exposure upon release.

*          *          *

Universal presents their "10th Anniversary Edition" of Mallrats in both the theatrical version and a new "Extended Edition" (running 27 min. longer), with a solid anamorphic transfer (1.85:1) and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Side One features the theatrical version (96 min.), which comes with the audio commentary from the initial DVD release by Smith, Lee, Affleck, Jason Mewes, producer Scott Mosier, and View Askew historian Vincent Perreira. Also on Side One are "Cast Interviews from the Original Set" (9 min.), "A Brief Q&A with Kevin Smith" (9 min.), Outtakes (8 min.), "View Askew's Look Back at Mallrats" (21 min., taken from the original Collector's Edition) "The Erection on an Epic: The Making of Mallrats" (22 min.), production photos, a music video for "Build Me Up Buttercup" directed by Smith, and the theatrical trailer. On the flip side is the Extended Edition, which comes with an introduction by Smith and Mosier (11 min.) and "Mallrats: A Reunion" (50 min.), a 10th anniversary Q&A with cast and crew. As Smith and Mosier admit in the introduction, the Extended Edition is way too long and doesn't work as well as the theatrical cut, but it does offer some (but not all) of the scenes that were included in the previous Collector's Edition DVD. Keep-case.
—DSH



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