Oct 21, 2011

[Movies] Zack and Miri Make a Porno (2008)

How does one classify a movie like this?

There are certainly comedic elements in play given the title alone - a fact compounded by some of the stars involved in the production. There's some romance to be found as well given the lead stars are a guy and a girl - your classic friends-since-forever type of situation.

But then there's the porno bit. Ah yes.

Thus we end up describing this as a Kevin Smith movie - and for those who have seen his other movies, it'll all make sense right about...now.

Admittedly I had been rather curious about this movie for some time now but just never got around to watching it. So on one of those days when we happened to have enough free time to watch another movie together  my partner suggested we try this movie out and that sort of led to this review.

And please note - at the time we had no idea it was a Kevin Smith movie. We just hoped it would be funny somehow.


Zack and Miri Make a Porno is a 2008 romantic comedy (which is the "official" web consensus as to how to categorize this movie) written and directed by Kevin Smith. Unlike other Smith movies, it is not set in his View Askewniverse.

Zack Brown (Seth Rogen) and Miri Linky (Elizabeth Banks) have been friends since grade school and as adults not share an apartment together. Both have less than notable jobs with Miri in retail and Zack working as a barista, and thus the two constantly struggle to make ends meet - and fail at this rather miserably. So on the night of their high school reunion things go from bad to worse when their water finally gets cut off.

At the reunion, they do their best to reconnect with old friends or at the very least find someone to hook up with. Miri makes her move against her former classmate Bobby Long (Brandon Routh) while Zack ends up making small talk with Brandon St. Randy (Justin Long). And as Miri continues to make a fool of herself, Zack finds out that not only does Brandon work as a gay porn star, but he's also Bobby's boyfriend.

After that little disaster, they come home to find out that their electricity has been cut off as well. Thus Zack finally comes up with a ridiculous plan to pay off all their debts - for the two of them to make a pornographic movie together.

Kevin SmithKevin Smith (Image via RottenTomatoes.com)The movie was decently funny, although at times stepping outside my comfort zone for comedy. But then Kevin Smith films have always struck me that way - funny but at times offensive or just a tad too gross for comfort. At the very least, it wasn't as bad as a lot of the other gross-out comedies that dominate the movie landscape these days - the ones that really you feel your IQ points and brain cells just burning away.

Seth Rogen was pretty decent in this movie, although he often comes off as a caricature of an actual person. Then again, I'm sure we all feel like we've had a friend sort of like Seth at one point in our lives, which helps keep things relatively believable. Elizabeth Banks was okay as the leading lady. She certainly has some visual appeal (but I'm gay, so I'm a lousy judge of that) but she did have her share of honestly funny moments in the movie.

I really enjoyed how the story unfolded though since you can honestly believe that two friends that comfortable with one another just might be pushed over the edge to make a porno for money. And given the current economic situation in the US, I can imagine this movie hitting a bit closer to home than originally intended. And that's part of the charm and intelligence and wit that is woven into a lot of Kevin Smith's movies, which makes them worth watching. Sure there are a lot of stupid jokes that get more eye rolls than laughs but at least they're actually witty one way or another.

The real genius moment in the movie was probably when they started to reveal their "story" for their original Star Wars themed pornographic movie. Believe me, it oddly worked on a number of levels.

Zack and Miri Make a Porno isn't quite the greatest comedy around, but it's certainly funny in its own way. Feel free to watch it if you're a Kevin Smith fan or if you've always wanted to see Jason Mewes' butt or something. The movie still gets 3.5 really bad lines of porn dialog out of a possible 5.


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