Zack and Miri Make a Porno

Director: Kevin Smith

Cast: Seth Rogen, Elizabeth Banks, Craig Robinson, Brandon Routh, Justin Long, Jeff Anderson, Katie Morgan, Jason Mewes, Traci Lords

Synopsis: Zack and Miri are two life-long friends living together and unable to make ends meet.   Despite having no romantic attraction to each other, they decide to make their own porno film together, after seeing how well it went for other guests at their high school reunion.

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Kevin Smith used to be the purveyor of cutting edge comedy with a sense of humour that skirted the fine line of good taste.   With his break out film Clerks he tapped into a cultural zeitgeist, while skirting that fine taste line with a nothing if not memorable bathroom scene, incredible given that the scene in question never actually appeared on-screen.   His subsequent output was certainly mixed, but still addressing some pretty major issues such as homosexuality (Chasing Amy) and religion (Dogma).   Not all has been golden, however.

I am not of the camp that I am disappointed with Smith’s recent output.   The edge has dulled, but I have remained entertained by his work, including the often derided Jersey Girl.   I do feel that with Zack and Miri his goal was to hone that edge once again.   Sadly, however, jokes centering around anal sex clearing constipation just doesn’t cut it.   The film is quite amusing, and a good comedy, but aside from the aforementioned gag, the film otherwise relies largely on cliché.

Like every rom-com, there is the couple that have a lot in common but the relationship was never there.   Like recent rom-coms, to have or not have sex forms the great divide.   And following that trend, there is a promise to ensure things don’t get complicated and weird, yet invariably they do.   Sure, it is centred around the idea of making a film for the pornographic industry, but one struggles to believe their product ever has any promise of success.   Even with the reputation of the low quality of porn films, there is no reason why “cockacino” will prove a success.   So you can strip away the setting and what you have is another “modern” rom-com.

What does save the film in terms of entertainment value is the performances.   Rogen and Banks are immensely likeable in everything they do, and as natural comedians the both of them, they play off each other very well.   The bit players, many of them Smith alumni, also add their own character to the process.   Well equipped Lester (Mewes, Jay himself) is in a role that seems written for the actor… not surprising as Mewes and Smith are best friends.   Traci Lords and Katie Morgan make amusing porn starlets, and camera man Deacon is classic Jeff “Clerks” Anderson.   In best mate role, Robinson perhaps has the most thankless role, but makes it work.

There is nothing wrong with Zack and Miri, and there is good cause to laugh throughout.   It is just nothing special or different at the same time.

3 stars out of 5

 

Zack and Miri Make a Porno on IMDB

Zack and Miri Make a Porno on Rotten Tomatoes

Trailer [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9TTniyHOEIc]

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