If you’ve heard of the movie Mallrats then probably the first thing you associate it with is the director and writer Kevin Smith. His first movie, Clerks, was a hit due to its sincerity and the way people could relate to it. Most of us have worked the grueling retail job where we stood behind a cash register and dealt with difficult people. As with Clerks, Mallrats continues to hint of Smith’s experiences and passions. Many of us grew up hanging around the mall all the time. Combine this with one of Smith’s deepest passions, comic books, and you have the recipe for his next movie.
The problem, though, was that Mallrats was not well received by critics. As was with his previously film Clerks, there is not much of a central plot and generally hovers around the struggles of young lovers as they lament about their problems in a shopping mall. The story follows the lives of two best friends, T.S. Quint, played by Jeremy London, and Brodie Bruce, played by Jason Lee, as they navigate through their failed relationships and attempt to win back their respective girlfriends. T.S. is still heartbroken over his recent breakup with his longtime girlfriend Brandi, played by Claire Forlani, and is determined to win her back. Brodie, on the other hand, is dealing with his own relationship issues with his girlfriend Rene, played by Shannen Doherty, who is also the cousin of Brandi.
Brodie suggests that they go to the local mall, hoping it will distract them from their relationship problems. To their surprise, they discover that Brandi’s father is hosting the dating show at the same mall. Determined to sabotage the event, they recruit Jay and Silent Bob, two laid-back slackers, to help them. In the conclusion of the film, various events take place that affect the lives of the main characters. T.S., one of the protagonists, decides to tie the knot with Brandi during a memorable ceremony at Universal Studios. Surrounded by the adventurous atmosphere of a Jaws attraction, their wedding promises to be an exhilarating affair.
Cast of Mallrats
With an unusual script and mediocre actors, the cast of Mallrats quickly begin to look like they are in a bad position. Beside Ben Affleck, who went on to become a lead actor in big budget films, most of the cast met their fate as useless and forgotten. Another case is Claire Forlani’s role, which paved the way to films like Meet Joe Black. The main exception though includes Shannon Doherty from a popular TV show called 90210. Doherty breathes life and air into this suffocating movie by providing not only believable acting, but also a bit of sentimentalism that has escaped the majority of the film. The ending admittedly does provide an uplifting feeling of warm that perhaps should have been throughout the entire film.
Jeremy London, known for his work in television series and a few films, was chosen for the role of TS. Another one of the cast members, Jason Lee, had no previous acting experience. Joey Lauren Adams joined the cast as Gwen Turner. It is worth mentioning that Kevin Smith, the director of Mallrats, later dated Adams and even wrote the main character in his movie Chasing Amy specifically for her. Ethan Suplee was chosen for the role of Willam Black.
I suppose the biggest Mallrats character I should mention is Stan Lee. This was way before Lee would forcibly make an appearance in as many Marvel movies as possible before his death. His cameo was especially significant since comic book culture was at its peak in 1995 before the hurdling crash. He was also a character, both on and off the screen, that people still admired and looked up to. As time went on though, people began to learn the truth about Stan Lee through books like Marvel Comics: The Untold Story about how abusive he was.
You might wonder why Stan Lee was in the movie in the first place, or why the movie had a comic book subplot. Kevin Smith, as with his movies, shoe-horned in his passions into Mallrats. He famously sold his comic book collection to make his first movie Clerks, which apparently paid off. This second movie of his, however, did not settle particularly well with critics. Although not a box office bomb, its mixed reception still allowed it to become a cult classic as Smith would go on to legendary status and develop more movies, television shows and, you guessed it, comic books.
The film Mallrats was originally intended to be shot at Seaview Square Mall in Ocean Township, New Jersey. However, in a change of plans driven by cost considerations, the production chose to film at Eden Prairie Center mall in Eden Prairie, Minnesota instead. The director, Kevin Smith, initially desired to shoot at Seaview Square Mall, but ultimately opted for Eden Prairie Center due to lower production expenses.
The overall problem with Mallrats is the amount of cliches and general non-streamlined events that take place. Although somewhat interesting to watch, it has no actual value. The most interesting thing overall is the outcome of some of its cast members. If it weren’t for this point, and the director Kevin Smith’s later films, this movie could have, and should have, been lost to time and forgotten forever.