Saturday, November 1, 2008

REVIEW: Zack and Miri Make a Porno...



Some filmmakers are in a certain camp I like to call, "love them or hate them." The king of this camp is probably the person behind this little comedy, Kevin Smith. Personally, I'm a huge fan of the guy, and think that he, not Judd Apatow, is the king of modern comedy, and just go watch Clerks 2 to prove it. That said, I also know many a people that simply hate the man and many of his films. I do admit there are a few stinkers, a.k.a. Jersey Girl, but for the most part, I get a lot out of his neo-minimalist comedies. That said, with Zack and Miri Make a Porno, comes his first foray outside of his "Askewniverse", and one of the most controversial films of this year.

Zack and Miri Make a Porno is a simple little flick. Two platonic friends, Zack and Miri (Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks), are strapped for cash. They are late on their bills, and one night, their water and electricity get shut off. If they can't come up with some quick cash, they will be locked out of their apartment. So, as many of us would decide to do if we were friends with Elizabeth Banks, Zack comes up with an idea that, to solve their cash flow problems, they should shoot an adult film together. However, as the filming begins, the two discover that they may have more feelings for each other than originally thought.

As I stated above, I'm a HUGE Kevin Smith fan. I think he does comedy better than anyone out right now. Coming off of the hilarious Clerks II, I had really high expectations for this one, and at the end, they were barely met.

Smith is not known for his flashy camera work. He's got a very basic, almost point and shoot style, that leaves the emphasis on his amazing writing, and this film is no different. The writing here, while EXCESSIVLEY vulgar, is quite funny, and is delivered quite well by Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks. However, the show is completely stolen in a scene near the beginning by Justin Long and Brandon Routh as two gay lovers. I'm not going to say anything else, except it may be the funniest scene I've seen all year. It risky to do gay jokes in such a pc world that we live in, but it's handled so well, and is really funny, without being offensive to anyone.

The rest of the cast also worked really well. Here's a little question to Hollywood. Why does Craig Robinson not have his own television show? Most of you may know him from the Office, as the bouncer in Knocked Up, or as one of the hit men in Pineapple Express, but he may be the single best thing about this film. Also, it was really fun seeing some familiar faces from past Kevin Smith films like Jason Mewes and Jeff Anderson. I like the two as actors, and it's nice to see them out of their past Askewniverse characters, Jay and Randal.

The last thing, and the most important thing when talking about comedies, is that this film had me laughing a lot. There were no huge laughs, but their were a lot of chuckles in this film. The film is probably more low brow than low brow can go, but in such a vulgar movie, for there to be as much heart as there is in this flick, is something to cheer. The MPAA can suck it. That all said, the film did have quite a few flaws.

First off, let me get this off my chest. Seth Rogen should not be starring in his own films. I think he is really funny, but this film and Pineapple Express prove that Seth Rogen can't really carry a whole film. He was funny, but he is such a great comedic character actor, that I think he should stick to it. Also, while there is a nice little spin on it with the porn aspect, the films basic plot is ripped straight out of the land of cliche. There isn't much story beyond the plot synopsis, and some of the interchanges between Zack and Miri didn't feel quite real enough, and the chemistry wasn't all quite there. The writing in some points is a little bland and doesn't quite hit, but for the most part, this is one of the funnier movies I've seen this year.

ZACK AND MIRI MAKE A PORNO - 7/10

Featuring some amazing side performances, Zack and Miri Make a Porno barely delivers on what it set out to do. Fans of Smith will enjoy it, and non fans will hate it. Just like the rest of the cult directors canon.

Come back later for a review of RockNRolla!

Go see something good

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