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Zack and Miri Make a Porno (2008) Director Kevin Smith 20 November 2008

Posted by jordanfarley in Uncategorized.
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As a long time Kevin Smith fan I went into Zack and Miri a little bit worried that Smith’s unique use of language might have been a little watered down for the Judd Apatow generation of film fans. Boy was I wrong. Despite starring Seth Rogen, Elizabeth Banks, Craig Robinson, Justin Long and Gerry Bednob – all veterans of Apatow productions – Smith does not compromise and in fact probably delivers the filthiest movie of his career.

Rogen stars as Zack, a typical lovable looser role for the Knocked Up star, who lives with fellow lovable looser Miri (Banks). The pair are struggling to make a living and find themselves in particularly dire straits when their utilities are shut down the day before thanksgiving. This also happens to be the day of Zack and Miri’s high school reunion, where Zack meets gay porn star Brandon (Long) in perhaps the best scene of the film. This gives Zack the idea which could save the pair from poverty, make a porno starring themselves – who wouldn’t pay to see two old classmates fuck?
The plot is threadbare and predictable unfortunately, will onscreen sex between best friends Zack and Miri blossom into something more? Of course it will, the outcome is never in doubt, but that’s not where Zack and Miri shines. Smith’s dialogue is razor sharp and, along with Clerks 2, shows a return to form we were all hoping for after the disappointing Jersey Girl.
However this type of comedy will not be for everyone, the language is foul at the best of times and some of the amateur porn scenes cut a little close to the bone, it’s about as close to porn as you can get in a mainstream movie without actually showing anything.
The entire cast is excellent, a sweeping statement I know but true. Rogen is playing a role we’ve seen him in many times before, but the script he is given to play with helps him raise his game well above his performance in this years Pineapple Express. Banks (seen recently as Laura Bush in W.) is also excellent, though I never really bought that someone so beautiful and endearing would ever find herself in such a situation. The supporting cast deliver a lot of laughs and I was particularly pleased to see Jason Mewes and Jeff Anderson, Smith regulars, in roles different enough from their characters of Jay and Randal to make me wonder why more directors don’t cast these two brilliant comic actors.
My one problem with the film is a problem I have had with almost every Apatow production to date (and unfortunately several of Smith’s films as well), they all seem to be a little bit misogynistic to me. From the 40-Year Old Virgin, through Superbad and Chasing Amy beautiful women, who would undoubtedly never give the men portrayed in these films the time of day in real life, constantly fall for the lovable looser, a substitute for the audience’s sense of worthwhile. It is this sort of male wish-fulfillment that makes me cringe when I see it on screen, it just doesn’t ring true and sadly seems to be the starting point for a lot of modern comedy scripts.
But having said that I loved Zack and Miri, the laughs come almost non-stop in the first half and although they drop off in the second, thanks to the melodramatic developments in Zack and Miri’s relationship, the film will keep you entertained throughout. Also be sure to sit through the end credits for a wonderful coda.
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