MALLRATS (TV version) Image

MALLRATS (TV version)

By Brad Laidman | December 7, 2001

Wasn’t the Pink Floyd Dark Side of The Moon/”The Wizard of Oz” rumor fun? I mean even if it wasn’t true, it gave us bored, seen-it-all watchers of popular entertainment a new way to enjoy something really familiar. Who hadn’t seen “The Wizard of Oz” at least twelve times? Dark Side? My guess is that even non-fans of Pink Floyd (and how many of those could there really be out there?) must have at least heard that disc upwards of twenty or so times, and yet this weird rumor that they were related gave us a new way to enjoy both of them.
Personally, I think that the lesson to be learned here is that despite the hundreds of channels in our new pop-saturated world, we must always be on the lookout for opportunities to reinvent our forms of popular entertainment. These reinvented forms of amusement can often times be more enjoyable than even the subject in its first viewing.
Here’s something that I have found to be almost infinitely amusing. Check out Kevin Smith’s MallRats on the FX channel. My guess is that it’s on at least twice a week. Before you label me insane, stay with me for a second. Sure, MallRats is everyone’s unanimous choice as Kevin Smith’s worst movie. My guess is that people who have Smith’s picture up on their wall wouldn’t even disagree. Please be warned I’m not asking you to go out and rent MallRats. That would probably be a disappointment. After all you didn’t like it the first time. No, I’m telling you to check it out on the FX Channel.
MallRats was originally rated R and its language and subject matter alone well deserved that rating. Kevin Smith, like Mamet and Tarantino before him, loves to pepper his dialogue with rhythmically intense profanity. Of course, the version on the FX channel needs to remedy all of the film’s profanity to show it on their cable channel. Dubbing can really be annoying. I once saw “Hoffa” on an airplane and hearing the same wrong word constantly being substituted for “m**********r” was like Chinese water torture, but MallRats is different.
This has to be the worst-dubbed version of an R-rated movie of all time. There are about fourteen characters in MallRats with significant amounts of dialogue and it being MallRats, all of them swear constantly, so all of those parts needed someone to voice new lines for nearly half of their dialogue. Now if this were Spike Lee trying to get a good clean version of “Do The Right Thing” together for PBS, you’d have a pretty good shot of Ossie Davis’ lines being dubbed by Ossie Davis. For some reason, whoever made the dub of the version of MallRats, couldn’t even get Jason Mewes to redo his lines. Please, if your project can’t afford a couple days of Jason Mewes time, then my guess is that you’re looking at a train wreck. I’m thinking he’d do it for a bag of weed or a couple of comic books!
Therefore almost every other line in this movie is a badly-dubbed voice that sounds nothing like Shannon Doherty, Ben Affleck, Joey Lauren Adams, or Jason Lee. It’s like every single character in the movie has been taken over by the devil in the Exorcist.
Once you’re tuned in to the goofy fun of the rampaging vocal tones, you can begin to try to listen to the dialogue. Instead of just substituting for the profane words, this edit tries to change entire phrases, which is really amusing because ^ 1) The phrases they edit in are really badly written and… ^ 2) They make entirely no sense in the larger terms of the film itself.
I’ve seen this television version twice now and I promise you that the time is well spent just by trying to figure out how they worked around the topless three nippled psychic scene alone! I promise you that sometime in the near future, when it’s 2 AM, and you can’t sleep, that you too will get to enjoy what I would have to describe as the laugh riot of the year!

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