Review: Zack and Miri Make a Porno
PLOT: Two best friends named Zack and Miri are having a really bad time. Rent is due, the electricity is about to be shut off, and neither is expecting much in the way of funds any time soon. So after the two go back to their high school for a reunion, Zack finds hope when he meets a gay porn star that has made a fortune in the industry, he also happens to be involved with the popular guy that Miri had a crush on. So once they return home, Zack convinces Miri that if they make a porno, money will come rolling in. But when the two begin to find something in each other besides friendship, the complications of romance arise. Luckily it is all served with a potent amount of nudity and sex talk that you won’t feel too bad for taking the girlfriend/boyfriend along.
One of the best things I can say about ZACK AND MIRI MAKE A PORNO is that it really felt like a return for Kevin Smith. I loved CHASING AMY, not just because it was funny, it was a bit deeper than that. I appreciated that it went for the cheap laugh, but it also had something to say about love and sex, and everything in between. The same can be said about Zack and Miri. Both Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks share everything with each other. They are best friends who will support and defend their relationship. Although at times I found that they seemed to give each other too much of a break, as they don’t seem all that bothered that one doesn’t pay for electricity and it gets shut off. But within this story of sex, there is a very sweet sentiment and a wonderfully strong tribute to sticking with each other no matter what.
It all begins when Zack (Rogen) and Miri (Banks) decide to go to their high school reunion, the pressure mounds. Both are not at all successful, but they are best friends and roommates who can’t afford to keep up with costs. But somehow, Miri convinces him to go to this morbid tradition of seeing what all your high school chums are doing. Once there, Miri finds the guy that she always secretly adored. If anyone was wondering what happened to Superman, Brandon Routh, you need not look any further. Once she finds Mr. Bobby Long (Routh), Zack runs into the guy that happens to be Bobby’s lover, Brandon (Justin Long as a gay porn star). Zack finds himself damn impressed with Brandon. After all, he has sex for a living, what can be wrong with that? Once Zack and Miri arrive home, he shares his idea that they should make pornos. As ludicrous as it seems, I sort of bought it, even though I kept thinking that it is an odd way to try and get in a really hot girl pal’s pants. Seriously… ‘come on, let’s make some money… do it for a friend…’ He might just be on to something.
So the question is, is Zack and Miri funny? I have to say yes it is. While I found that the crude nature of the dialogue sometimes felt forced, when it worked it was golden [showers?]. Yes, the vulgarity does sometimes get a little tiring and it loses it’s power every so often. Kevin loves for his characters to talk filthy and it can be really funny. Yet even though this was about two friends making a porno, I don’t know if all of it was necessary. Luckily, like Chasing Amy, underneath all of it are really likeable characters. It is strange to see Mr. Smith do what is basically a romantic comedy. You know, two best friends who don’t want anything more, but soon finds themselves falling in love… and of course something gets in the way. It almost seemed a bit too simplistic. And the casting of Seth Rogen opposite Elizabeth Banks is a little strange in the beginning. But as they grew, I started to buy into it. Both actors have the sense to keep it grounded and real. There is an oddness about their pairing, but it remains truthful enough to keep me rooting for them.
The rest of the cast is an interesting mix including Traci Lords, Jason Mewes (who gladly shows his penis) and Jeff Anderson (plus a ton more). It was great to see Mr. Anderson back, I really like this guy and he is very funny here as a non-Randal fellow. I previously mentioned Brandon Routh and Justin Long. Both are very funny, even if it seems Superman comes across as a little awkward during smooch time. I had fun with the whole gang. Now, whether it was the predictable nature of the story, or the abundance of “porno” talk, I didn’t love the movie as much as I was hoping for. I was one hundred percent drawn in when Ben Affleck made his suggestion to Jason Lee and Joey Lauren Adams in Amy. But here, I had a few moments that reminded me that this is only a movie and we know where it is going. Yet once it gets to those final moments, as predictable as it was, it brings up a nice sentiment. It is amazing how the crudest of comedies sometimes have the biggest of hearts. My rating 7/10 -- JimmyO
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