By Heather Leszczewicz Special to Published Jul 19, 2006 at 5:22 AM
Director, writer and actor Kevin Smith strikes again with "Clerks II," the sequel to 1994's highly acclaimed cult classic "Clerks." More than a decade after being introduced to Smith's characters, we catch up with Dante Hicks and Randal Graves (Brian O'Halloran and Jeff Anderson).

In 1994, 20-somethings Dante and Randal ran the Quickstop convenience store and RST video while dealing with crazy customers, a hockey game, a wake and drug-dealing slackers Jay and Silent Bob (Jason Mewes and Smith) selling and hanging out in front of store. Now in their 30s, times have changed, but barely. For one, the Quickstop burned down, forcing them to pack up and start working at the local Mooby's, a fast food joint.

Dante has finally decided that it's time to grow up. He's engaged to his high school crush Emma (Jennifer Schwalbach Smith), they're moving to Florida where the in-laws will give them a home and he'll run one of the family car washes. It's a perfect new life.

But he's got ties to people that he can't seem to sever. Besides being best friends with Randal, his one-night-stand with his Mooby's boss, Becka (Rosario Dawson), dredges up feelings he never thought he had for her. She acts as his foil; she being a lover of life and him believing that life gave him the short end of the stick.

Trouble always seems to follow Dante and Randal. Jay and Silent Bob have returned, touted as the "New and Improved Jay and Silent Bob," and have staked claim to a spot outside Mooby's to sell their drugs and hang out, discussing the ways and what ifs of life. There's also the loveable, God-fearing and nerdy Elias (Trevor Fehrman). He spends his time being tormented by Randal and talking about his favorite fandoms -- "Transformers" and "The Lord of the Rings."

In true "Clerks" fashion, one day can change a lot of things for a lot of people.

Smith has redeemed himself for the unfunny and out of character "Jersey Girl" and created a worthwhile follow-up to "Clerks," which has become a franchise with six related movies -- "Clerks," "Mallrats," "Chasing Amy," "Dogma," "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back" and now "Clerks II."

"Clerks II" begins much like its predecessor, black and white as if shot by security cameras, but then the story launches itself into the new era with color. The story has the same crass humor -- nothing is sacred -- but with romance attached.

Smith creates continuity, bringing in aspects of past movies that deal with his Jersey-verse; possibly it's just a shout-out to his past like "Dogma's" Mooby and Buddy Christ showing up and the "I assure you we are open" sign from "Clerks" being hung once again.

There are also cameos by the so-called "gang" that appears in all of his films. Ben Affleck is Mooby's "Gawking Customer," Jason Lee is Randal's nemesis Lance Dowds and Ethan Suplee buys weed off Jay and Silent Bob. Only Matt Damon and George Carlin were missing.

Hilarious scenes are abundant, but 99 percent of the movie is too vulgar to be mentioned here in detail, but it's funny. When you think Smith has pushed the jokes too far, guess again. He'll keep pushing and his wit is unmatched.  Smith's fans won't be disappointed.

Stupid humor, dirty jokes, racial slurs, bad language, fandom fights and discussions of sex acts are the main affair; you're fairly warned.
Heather Leszczewicz Special to

Originally from Des Plaines, Ill., Heather moved to Milwaukee to earn a B.A. in journalism from Marquette University. With a tongue-twisting last name like Leszczewicz, it's best to go into a career where people don't need to say your name often.

However, she's still sticking to some of her Illinoisan ways (she won't reform when it comes to things like pop, water fountain or ATM), though she's grown to enjoy her time in the Brew City.

Although her journalism career is still budding, Heather has had the chance for some once-in-a-lifetime interviews with celebrities like actor Vince Vaughn and actress Charlize Theron, director Cameron Crowe and singers Ben Kweller and Isaac Hanson of '90s brother boy band Hanson. 

Heather's a self-proclaimed workaholic but loves her entertainment. She's a real television and movie fanatic, book nerd, music junkie, coffee addict and pop culture aficionado.