Not quite the worst-case scenario for the collision of indie talent and studio money, but close, Mallrats takes the buncha-guys-hangin'-around formula writer/director Kevin Smith introduced in 1994's Clerks and transplants it to a shopping mall. The combination of consumerism and contemporary malaise ought to have yielded a lot to work with, but for every humorous exchange, he throws in at least as many outsized attempts at physical humor that simply don't work. After a while the story, like its characters, has nowhere to go but in circles and the witty moments lose out to broad targets and gross-out gags. Bigger is almost never better with Smith, and his film here feels like the work of a miniaturist trying to outdo the Sistine Chapel.
by Keith Phipps review