Tuesday, 25 September 2018
Zack and Miri Make a Porno
Written by Sandra Fitzpatrick   
Friday, 07 November 2008 18:54

ThumbnailKevin Smith is known for his raunchy, lowbrow humor that often panders to a highbrow crowd. He hit the scene in ’94 with his underground hit Clerks, and revolutionized a whole new style of cinema, and created a few pretty iconic characters. When he followed up by pumping out Mallrats, Chasing Amy and Dogma he became iconic himself for his cutting edge comedies. The formula was born – mix two parts dirty jokes to one part intellectual discussion, toss in your best friends and voila; box office magic! It’s a formula that’s been adapted by many since with varying levels of success. Smith himself hasn’t been immune to flops, and with his latest film Zack and Miri Make a Porno he manages to combine a whole lot of solid concepts into a film that is, shall we say, a little limp.


It starts out suspiciously similar to Romy and Michelle; two best friends attend their high school reunion and realize that their loser status hasn’t changed much since graduation. Insert the “twist” – these two best buds are Zack (Seth Rogen) and Miri (Elizabeth Banks), guy and gal roommates in a platonic relationship that is mutually beneficial. When they realize that they can’t pay the bills without drumming up some fast cash (apparently ordering sex toys online with those last dollars outweighs paying rent) Zack comes up with the idea of making a porno flick. “Other people have options” is his retort when Miri protests, “and dignity”.

Indeed the film doesn’t stop at much when it comes to having any dignity of its own and you can expect pretty much everything that the title implies. Some real life “adult film stars” have major roles here, which must have been a relaxing change for them since any sex scenes in this film are simulated. Anything else goes including full female nudity and - all double standards aside – full-frontal male nudity as well (although it’s not executed quite as effectively as it was this summer in Forgetting Sarah Marshall).

I was really looking forward to seeing this movie. The previews made me laugh, and I thought it might be a funny, sexy little comedy with a heart. It tries to be all of those things, but the envelope gets pushed a little too far for my taste when it comes to jokes about constipation… trust me, it’s the gross out gag of the year bar none. There are some things I just don’t find funny. That doesn’t mean I’m looking for it to be toned down, it just isn’t my brand of humor. There are also a lot of racial jokes and stereotyping, which is played for gags but I found this to be really annoying.

ThumbnailThe movie has its moments and some of the best might make more than a few audience members blush. Most of the scenes that involve filming the porno are hilarious. Especially the initial concept for their film which is an adult version of Star Wars featuring such characters as “Hung Solo” – probably the only name I can quote you in this article!

Of course when Zack and Miri have their moment on camera it turns into a lot more than either of them bargained for. Somehow despite the camera and the audience, sparks fly during their scene together and all of a sudden the “business sex” they agreed upon becomes love.

Zack and Miri falls into the category of “filth-with-heart” that Judd Apatow (Knocked Up) has been the recent reigning king of. If Kevin Smith wants to win back that title, he’ll have to do more than seduce Seth Rogen away. This is a good start, but it doesn’t quite do the trick.