Zack And Miri Make A Porno * * 1/2

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Director: Kevin Smith.
Screenplay: Kevin Smith.
Starring: Seth Rogen, Elizabeth Banks, Jason Mewes, Craig Robinson, Traci Lords Katie Morgan, Ricky Mabe, Jeff Anderson, Justin Long, Brandon Routh, Tom Savini.

Writer/director Kevin Smith used to be a bit of an indie god. His debut “Clerks” was made on a shoestring budget and his films have normally had a real freshness and originality. His last three films; “Red State” “Cop Out” and this, are starting to show that Smith is running out of ideas though.

Plutonic flatmates Zack (Seth Rogen) and Miri (Elizabeth Banks) are cash strapped with mounting financial debts. They struggle to even pay basic household bills. When their electricity and water are cut off, they decide to embark on a money spinning idea; to make a homemade adult film. Eventually, the long-time friends will need to have sex with each other but will they be able to keep their emotions in check?

The film starts brightly and yes, you guessed it, Rogen gets to crack a few dick jokes. He’s good at it though but when it’s Kevin Smith at the helm, you expect a bit more. The writing is not as fresh as his earlier stuff and the film resorts to some cheap gags. It also strays off the path of indie comedy and treads onto the well worn one of romantic-comedy. This may be rom-com with an adult twist to it but, ultimately, it’s still part of the genre that I don’t really care for. It’s the performances that keep it tolerable. The two leads in Rogen and Banks are very endearing and they are surrounded by a great supporting cast – Jason Mewes is, as always, hilarious and there is a brilliant cameo from Justin Long as a gravelly voiced, profane, gay porn star. I found it to be a film of moments though. It has several that are very funny – including a good “Star Wars” porn scenario with Hung Solo and R2 T-Bag – but it’s just not consistent enough and then resorts to hammering the love angle. When this happens, you just know the film has muffdived nosedived and it’s very unlikely that it will recover. As expected, it doesn’t. If you’re looking for a good comedy that delivers the same premise then I suggest “The Moguls“. A little seen Jeff Bridges film released in 2005 that dealt with similar material in a more tasteful and frankly, funnier way.

Not one of Smith’s better efforts and has been the start of a three film decline for him. It does have some qualities but squanders them in favour of a formula.

Mark Walker

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16 Responses to “Zack And Miri Make A Porno * * 1/2”

  1. You’re really not selling this to me. I’m allergic to worn out gags and that picutre certainly doesn’t help. This movie is so down on my priority list now that I can promise you I won’t see it in my life time. (I have no idea about where I’ll spend the aftermath, so I’ll leave that question open.)

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    • It wasn’t very high on my list either Jessica. It happened to be available so I stuck it on. Ultimately, it wasn’t worth it. Some gags are good but overall it was pretty poor.

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  2. Jackie Petersen Says:

    About a year after making Zack and Miri, Kevin Smith admitted that he wasn’t cut out for making movies like this anymore. When he wrote Clerks and Mallrats he was using his own perspective as the poor guy with big ideas stuck working a crappy job. That’s not him anymore, though. He doesn’t struggle to pay his bills, and he realized that this was he last ditch effort to hold onto a genre he no longer identifies with.

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    • See, that’s makes a lot of sense Jackie. Cheers for that info. It’s apparent that Smith has lost his touch with this one. However, I’m not keen on the ones that followed it either. I think Smith has became increasingly rubbish over the years.

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      • Jackie Petersen Says:

        I’m a fan of Smith’s earlier stuff (I especially liked Dogma), but his later stuff isn’t thrilling me either. I think he realized he wasn’t a fan of his own work, because a while ago he decided to retire from filmmaking.

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      • I loved Dogma! I think it’s one of his best and most intelligent. I have to say though, I’m not that gutted to hear of his retirement. He’s been losing his way of late.

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      • Jackie Petersen Says:

        I agree. His early movies were unique and made an impact on filmmaking. His later movies are failed attempts to hold onto that. If he was still making movies like Dogma I’d be a little bothered by his retiring, but as it is I think he’s made the impact he wanted to make and leaving it at that isn’t a bad decision.

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      • Yeah, maybe taking some time out will reignite something in him. He’s in desperate need of some inspiration.

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  3. I agree. Z&M is the only Smith film I’ve seen at this point but it sometimes forgets its intended audience and veers too much into rom-com territory. Justin Long was hilarious, though.

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  4. I enjoyed this one but not nearly as much as I wanted to.
    Great review, Mark!

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  5. I guess I’m in the minority when I say this is a hilarious and witty comedy from the master of raunchy scripts, Kevin Smith. I will admit that it does get a bit too lame when it comes to the romance angle, but Banks and Rogen are so likable that you can easily get past it all. Nice review Mark.

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    • Banks and Rogen were very appealing. I enjoyed them in this but I just expect a little more intelligence from Smith. This is the kind of stuff Judd Apatow delivers. I expected more.

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  6. i didn’t like this movie too much , I’m no way prudish but it was vulgar. it seemed to just focus on seth rogan spouting horrendous swear words for no apparent reason other than to shock or be ‘cool’. I recently watched Jay and silent bob strike back, the delivery of the ‘language’ WAS funny and cool in that. good review again, score is spot on.

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