Mallrats (1995)A review by Shlomoh Sherman
November 18, 2016
Director: Kevin Smith
Writer: Kevin Smith
Stars: Shannen Doherty, Jeremy London, Jason Lee, Ben Affleck
Plot Summary: Both dumped by their girlfriends, two best friends seek refuge in the local mall.
Plot Keywords: mall - ex girlfriend - jay and silent bob - comic - teenager
Taglines: Get off your TV watching brown eye and come see our movie!
Genres: Comedy - Romance
Motion Picture Rating: (MPAA)
Rated R for strong language, including sexual dialogue, and for some scenes of sexuality and drug content
Release Date: October 20, 1995 (USA)
Filming Locations: Eden Prairie Center Mall - 8251 Flying Cloud Drive, Eden Prairie, Minnesota, USA
Budget: $6,000,000 (estimated)
Gross: $2,122,561 (USA)
Production Co: Gramercy Pictures (I), Alphaville Films, View Askew Productions
Runtime: 94 min - 123 min (extended)
The story revolves around Brodie Bruce and his best friend, TS Quint, both of whom have their relationships with their girlfriends terminated on the same day, TS because of his incompetence in dealing with his girl's father who does not like him, and Brodie because of his limited ability to engage fully in intimacy with his girl. He won't even let her meet his mother. But looked at critically, in each relationship one of the partners does not have the ability to bring a parent in alignment with the relationship.
In their depression over the loss of the significant other, they decide to spend the day malingering at a local mall. Along the way, they meet up with various friends: Willam, who stares at Magic Eye pictures, failing to see a supposed hidden image that all others see; Gwen, one of TS's ex-girlfriends; and of course Jay and Silent Bob, two buddies featured in all of Kevin films.
Along the way, they encounter Shannon, manager of one of the mall's shops, who falls for Brodie's girl friend and gives him a severe beating.
Eventually, TS amd Brodie win back their significant others and the film's ending suggests that they both will find an accomodation with the girlfriends' parents.
It's obvious from watching Kevin Smith's movies that he is a comic book geek, and comic books are featured prominently in the movies. In Mallrats, Smith gives Stan Lee, the master comic book writer, a cameo, playing himslef.
Bradc-2 from Auckland, NZ, in his July, 2003 review, had this to say: "Listen to the dialogue and it's soon apparent that this is indeed pure Smith. And it shines. The long diatribes about seemingly nothing, the anti-establishment rumblings of Brody, and a bigger involvement of Jay and Silent Bob, make this as good, if not better than the other Kevin Smith films."
I cannot disagree more firmly. The annoying dialogue, along with the inane and predictable situational outcomes, not only do not make the movie shine. Opposite. They dull it to an aggravating extent. And I say this simply because I LOVE Silent Bob and Jay, and I expect more out of Smith.
Bradc-2 continues: "Its hard to rate this film; you'll either really like it and give it a 10 or tuck into another chocolate pretzel after giving it a 1." [The reference to chocolate covered pretzels is about Rene's father's love of these snacks.]
Bradc-2 acknowledges that some of Kevin's fans are not going to like Mallrats.
Finally Bradc-2 concludes: "As most Smith fanboys know, Mallrats has been trashed critically, financially (bad box-office) and by a lot of Smith's own fan-base."
See below for Erikdrewards' comment: "Why do so many people hate this movie?"
KUDOS to Shannen Doherty who plays Rene, TS' girlfriend. She is a beautiful woman and I know that I have seen her in other films but I cannot remember which. Her filmography says that she has appeared in 21 Jump Street, Things We Said Today, Heathers, and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, none of which I have seen.
KUDOS to the lovely Joey Lauren Adams, playing Gwen, Brodie's girlfriend, best remembered as Ben Affleck's love interest in CHASING AMY. Not only is she great to look at but in my opinion, an accomplised performer.
KUDOS toMichael Rooker as Svenning, Rene's father. It's interesting to see Rooker as a younger man in a comedy. In later years, Rooker became one of filmdom's great bad guys, appearing as Merle, a wife abuser, in THE WALKING DEAD. I have also seen him portray villains in other movies.
No KUDOS to Ben Affleck as Shannon. I am sick of seeing this self-involved egotist in Kevin's movies. As I pointed out both in DOGMA and CHASING AMY, I consider him puffed up about himself, and Affleck has shown himself to be a self-righteous blowhard on Bill Maher's show.
Sorry that, unlike the other 3 of Kevin Smith's films I have seen, I cannot recommend this film for your viewing unless you want to be as bored and disppointed as I was.
Did You Know?
Mark Wahlberg was considered for Brodie and Leonardo Dicaprio as T.S.
Silent Bob has only one line in the entire movie, consisting of: "Adventure? Excitement? A Jedi craves not these things." He had an additional line in the extended version, which was : "There was never anything good to say before."
Kevin Smith: [comic books] Brodie is a comic book collector; there is a comic book store in the mall; comic book creator Stan Lee appears in the movie; Brodie and T.S. discuss Superman's sex life.
The end credits scene telling us the fate of each of the main characters is an homage to the movie Fast Times at Ridgemont High which also has many scenes that take place in a mall. Kevin Smith even made sure to use the same font and color for the graphics.
The scene where backstage before the game show ran by Jared Svenning starts, Roddy yelled at TS and Brodie quoting "You called down the thunder, now you got it"! That's the same line that was quoted by Wyatt Earp in Tombstone (1993). Kurt Russell played Wyatt Earp along side Michael Rooker who played Sherman McMasters. Rooker's character was present when Russel quoted this line.
Henry Thomas was a finalist for the role of T.S. Quint.
The book "As Askew View 2: The Films of Kevin Smith" noted that Joey Lauren Adams was originally promised the role of Rene Mosier before being cast as Gwen Turner and Brian O'Halloran auditioned to play T.S. Quint but was then hired to play Gill Hicks.
Mallrats is the only Kevin Smith film which film critic Roger Ebert gave a negative review.
This is the only film by Kevin Smith that he did not edit himself, although he and Scott Mosier cut the extended version that's on the Tenth Anniversary DVD.
Studio execs required quite a bit of language to be removed or replaced with weaker language.
In the opening credits for Ben Affleck in the movie depict a comic book which is a parody of Batman. Almost 20 years later Affleck would be cast as Bruce Wayne/Batman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016).
Heather Graham auditioned for a role in this film.
Reese Witherspoon had a meeting with the casting directors, Kevin Smith and Scott Mosier, but both Smith and Mosier didn't enjoy the meeting and told the casting director not to bother to bring her in for an audition. Smith details this meeting in his book, "Silent Bob Speaks".
The MagicEye "sailboat" picture is actually a 4 x 3 matrix of geometric shapes consisting of a cross, a circle, a diamond, a star, 4 segmented circles and 4 cones.
Svenning was not originally supposed to be bald. Michael Rooker was trying to dye his hair gray for a better look, and decided that bald would work even better.
Universal wanted either Mike Myers, Adam Sandler or Chris Farley for the role of Brodie Bruce and Ethan Hawke for T.S. Quint.
Seth Green was on call, ready at any moment to fly to Minnesota so he could replace Jason Mewes as Jay.
The content of the dialogue between Quint and Brodie about whether Superman would be able to have sex and/or a baby with a non-superpowered woman is taken from a classic 1971 essay by science fiction author Larry Niven called "Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex."
During the Batman homage as Jay and Bob escape from La Fours, the belting attached to Kevin Smith slipped. The crane refused to start (someone had shut it off), and the key could not be located, nearly resulting in a possibly lethal fall.
Mallrats was filmed in Minnesota, down the road from Fargo (1996) which was shooting at the same time.
This is the second film in Kevin Smith's intricately interconnected View Askewniverse series (the others being Clerks (1994), Chasing Amy (1997), Dogma (1999), Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001) and Clerks II (2006)). The movies are all linked by characters, themes and events and each contains numerous references to the others.
Orginally Stan Lee was not going to have a cameo in the movie. Kevin Smith had written a fictional Stan Lee-type character but through a connection Stan Lee was asked to be in the movie and agreed.
Stan Lee initially did not want to be in the film as himself. He felt the dialogue weren't things he would say. Kevin Smith responded that it was just pretend to which Lee replied, "Okay Spider-Friend".
One of the game show contestants is named "Gill Hicks" (played by Brian O'Halloran), a reference to Dante Hicks (played by O'Halloran in many of the other View Askewniverse movies). Presumably they are brothers.
The studio almost replaced Jason Mewes ("Jay") with Seth Green. Kevin Smith insisted that Mewes should play Jay, but the studio made Smith take auditions for the role. Breckin Meyer also auditioned. In the end, all concerned agreed that Mewes was right for the part.
Stan Lee can be seen looking to his left or right repeatedly while talking with Brodie. This is so he can see his cue cards - not being a trained actor, memorizing lines was very difficult for him. Jeremy London, on the other hand, despite being an experienced actor, forgot his lines repeatedly.
Frequently Asked Questions
Read about Mallrats on the Internet Movie Data Base at On IMDB
Cast overview, first billed only:
Shannen Doherty ... Rene
Jeremy London ... TS Quint
Jason Lee ... Brodie
Claire Forlani ... Brandi
Ben Affleck ... Shannon
Joey Lauren Adams ... Gwen
Renée Humphrey ... Tricia
Jason Mewes ... Jay
Ethan Suplee ... Willam
Stan Lee ... himself
Priscilla Barnes ... Ivannah
Michael Rooker ... Svenning
Carol Banker ... Security Guard
Steven Blackwell ... Arresting Cop #2
Kyle Boe ... Pull Toy Kid
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