Kevin Smith’s 1995 follow-up to Clerks is a clear illustration of the principle that if you want to eliminate what’s distinctive and potentially dangerous in a low-budget independent, offer him a Hollywood contract. The Sundance festival, I know, is founded on a reverse principlethat Hollywood contracts are what everybody needsbut if this were the first Kevin Smith movie I’d ever seen I wouldn’t be especially eager to see another. As an Animal House romp about consumer slackers in a New Jersey mall, it’s harmless enoughjust don’t expect any sort of edge. At least with this outing, Smith left the working class to become just as boring as everybody else. With Shannen Doherty, Jeremy London, Jason Lee, and Claire Forlani. 95 min. (JR)

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