Review: Clerks XXX

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I guess the true measure of success for a porn parody is how true it can remain to the original material while still cramming in the required levels of hardcore coupling. If so, then Clerks XXX certainly does the job. What B. Skow has managed to achieve here is, on a small level, remarkable – a film that riffs perfectly on the source material and manages to do so in an entertaining way.

Of course, in many ways, Clerks lends itself perfectly to porn. The low-fi production values, the action mostly taking place in a single location, even the performances – it’s a much easier film to pastiche than some big-budget Hollywood blockbuster.

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In this version of the story, Dana (Allie Haze) and Randi (Lexi Swallow) are working in a down-market sex shop, while Jane (Chastity Lynn) and Silent Bertha (Kelly Divine) hand around outside turning tricks. It’s supposed to be Dana’s day off, but instead she’s stuck dealing with an anti-condom protester, guys with gerbils stuck up their ass, a boyfriend who turns out to have fucked 37 different guys, cleaning up jizz from TV screens in viewing booths and an ex-boyfriend who turns up out of the blue trying to rekindle their relationship. Sound familiar?

This works much better than it really should. Allie Haze is, of course, super-cute and here makes for a sympathetic central character, being charming, funny and sweet. Lynn does an amusing Jason Mewes imitation – she’s certainly more fun playing this role than Mewes is these days and the supporting cast do a good job as the parade of eccentric and annoying customers (this film might well be the biggest slap in the face for the raincoat crowd since Cafe Flesh).

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Of course, the film has to shudder to a halt ever few minutes for another sex scene – they are the raison d’etre, after all. These are efficient, if not spectacular – Haze is pretty astonishing to see in action, and Jayden Lee makes the most of a brief appearance, but the encounter with Lynn, Divine and Evan Stone is strangely limp. The film is also let down by the need to add one final scene at the end, when the story really had already finished, and it gives the film a curiously traditional happy ending that doesn’t really fit.

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In general though, Clerks XXX manages to channel the original movie’s crude humour extremely well, with the switch-around of sexes actually adding an interesting twist to the story – it’s almost like an answer-film to Kevin Smith’s original. You’ll also want to check out the non-sex version on the DVD, which runs 35 minutes and is in authentic black and white, for the full Clerks experience!

DAVID FLINT

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