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ZACK AND MIRI MAKE A PORNO

Written and Directed by Kevin Smith
Starring Seth Rogen, Elizabeth Banks, Jason Mewes, Craig Robinson and Ricky Mabe


Zack Brown: Everybody wants to see anybody fuck. I hate Rosie O’Donnell but if somebody said, “I got a tape of Rosie O’Donnell getting fucked stupid,” I’d be like, “Why the fuck aren’t we watching that right now?”

Just in time for Halloween, one of the original independent filmmakers, Kevin Smith, gives us something truly frightening … Seth Rogen in a porno. No offence to Seth; I think he’s cuddly and all but porn material, I think not. Or maybe I’ve just been out of the straight porn-watching world for so long that this is what porn has come to. That said, I doubt I’ll be making a trip to my local video shop later to catch up on everything I’ve missed. What’s that? I don’t have to leave my home for this sort of fare anymore? It is all readily available online at the click of my mouse? And what? I’m supposed to be talking about Smith’s latest mild chuckle fest, ZACK AND MIRI MAKE A PORNO? I thought we were discussing film worth leaving the house for. ZACK AND MIRI is not that film. Maybe you could download it, I guess.


Zack and Miri may be making a porno but it is Kevin Smith making another lazy film that we should be focusing on. See, Smith is hoping that his sensational premise is enough to get you laughing ecstatically. He is primarily hoping for this because this way he can pass off his tired characters and simple jokes as something brand new, something no one has ever tackled in film before. Actually, that is giving him too much credit. The truth of the matter is that Kevin Smith is one of the most overrated filmmakers making movies today. He’d probably be the first to agree with me. This is because Smith doesn’t really care about his work and you can feel it in every cliché his characters exist and every joke he sets up. How else can you explain married couple characters who yell at each other incessantly and complain even more so about how horrific and sexless marriage is? Or a party sequence where the camera doesn’t move while we jump cut from one dancing fool to the next in full frame? And how can anyone these days justify using the word “faggot” as a meaningless insult, tossed around irresponsibly? Limited is the first word that comes to my mind.


Getting back to Zack and Miri (Rogen and the luminous Elizabeth Banks), they are the most enjoyable and charismatic things about this film. Zack and Miri have been friends forever and never have they crossed that scary line and stepped into the realm of sex between friends. They live together, if you want to call their situation living. They’re months behind on their rent; their electricity and water have been shut off; and neither one has a job that can actually get them out of this mess they’ve found themselves in. Naturally, they turn to the world of pornography for salvation. After all, they just found out that they have access to hundreds of contacts on their high school alumni mailing list that will no doubt jump at the chance to see this infamously platonic twosome finally get it on. I don’t know about you but if I was so down on my luck that I needed to make porn to bail myself, I’m pretty positive that the high school acquaintances that teased and taunted me at my most fragile moments would not be the first people I would be peddling my wares to. In fact, they would be right up there with my mom.


The irony of ZACK AND MIRI MAKE A PORNO is that Kevin Smith should feel right at home with the kinds of lower production values pornography calls for. In fact, I think I may have seen amateur porn that is subtler and more original than this film. It is not without its charm or its laughs but ZACK AND MIRI MAKE A PORNO is as forgettable as most of Smith’s work and not nearly as intriguing as actual porn.

4 Comments

  1. You completely lost me with the last paragraph. To say that this movie, like most of Kevin Smith’s movies, is completely forgettable, is a bit much. Granted I haven’t seen this movie but, the man has legions of fans. Sorry, no. Michael Jordan has fans. This man has disciples. You don’t build the kind of following he has by making “forgettable” movies. I’ll quote what most film students tell me when I rant about David Lynch: “Maybe you just didn’t get it.”

  2. There isn’t much to get when it comes to Kevin Smith films. Calling Smith fans disciples is a bit much. Sure, they’re more dedicated than fans but if they’re actually followers, I am weary of what they are following. I will give Smith “Clerks”. It is a significant film in the realm of film history. He made it for nothing and it made a bunch of cash. It changed the way people thought about independent film and it placed Smith alongside Quentin Tarantino in the independent film surge of the 90’s. I will also give him some props for “Chasing Amy”. Interesting premise and much more character driven than he was used to. Smith actually pushed himself with that one. That’s it though. All his other films … forgettable. And in the case of “Dogma”, just plain bad. Mind you, perhaps it isn’t fair of me to say that. I forget a lot of things. See the film and tell me what you think.

  3. First off, I would compare Kevin Smith fans to Star Trek fans. They dress up for Kevin Smith events, they’ll buy anything he puts out, etc.
    Secondly, you refer to Smith as one of the most overrated filmmakers making movies today. But just because you know him doesn’t make him overrated. The man has a fanbase that pay for his life. His movies don’t make a lot of money but make enough money for him to continue to have a career. He’s not winning any awards unless you count MTV movie awards for dirtiest mouth. You know his name because he does everything and the man knows how to network and market himself. He produces films his friends make (Good Will Hunting, Small Town Gay Bar) that go on to win awards that his films could never do. He acts in roles where he’s basically cast as himself and doesn’t really need to show a lot of range. He writes… everything. Comic books, books, movies, re-writes on other movies, uncredited re-writes (more networking), newspaper articles, magazines, film reviews, online blogs, etc. He does stand up while promoting his stuff (comic conventions, Q&A sessions like Evening With Kevin Smith, and even has a regular spot on the Tonight Show). He directs only his features and doesn’t get outside projects. If he was as overrated as you say he is, wouldn’t people be trying to get him to direct other projects? If anything, with his list of things he does, he’s a little underrated.
    Now I got to watch the movie last night and I’d say that you gave it very little chance. Your complaints were all in the first 5 minutes of the movie and I’d say you gave up on it from there. You describe the jokes as tired and old, but part of what made this movie hilarious was how the jokes were sold. For example, you describe “husband hating his wife” jokes as tired and old but the wording of them and the delivery from Craig Robinson made me laugh every time. There were times in this movie that I was having trouble to stop laughing. And I wasn’t the only one. The entire theater was in stiches (even my father in law). As for his choice to use the word faggot, you have to consider the source of which character is saying it. A snot nose little shit who you’re suppose to dislike in the matter of seconds. One way of getting us to not like him, get him to say something stupid. I’d say you’re making too much of that one.
    I’m not saying this movie is brilliant, but it’s exactly what I woudl have wanted it to be. Funny. Like every other one of Kevin Smith’s movies, a solid B. Except Jersey Girl.

  4. Clearly you’re a fan. You want to be a follower? Awesome. What you fail to grasp here is how anyone could have an experience that differs from yours. My examples may come from the first few scenes but that doesn’t mean I shut off for the rest of the film and waited for it to end … Although I do admit to doing that in ACROSS THE UNIVERSE and more recently in APPALOOSA … My opinion is no more right or wrong than yours. You can cite a theatre full of people laughing and I can tell you about the group I saw it only laughing half the time. I did say in my review that ZACK AND MIRI is not without its charms or laughs, and I reiterate here again that this is in large thanks to Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks. I just think that Smith doesn’t try very hard and has been coasting for years, making variations of the same movie with the same characters. I believe that ZACK AND MIRI would have been a better film had someone else tackled it … someone who was interested in pushing himself or improving on his talent. Even Jason Mewes pushed himself in this one so why isn’t Smith held to this standard?

    As for his uses of the word “faggot”, I don’t think I’m making anything of it. I cited it as an example of lazy writing, not as an example of offensive homophobia. And you proved my point on that in your own defense of it. Like you said, we had to had a snot nosed teenager in a matter of seconds so he chose a word that would do the trick. What do you have there? Cliched character and the easiest answer to get your point across.

    It would too facile to say that Smith should try harder. As you point out, he’s already doing a crapload of work. Perhaps his problem isn’t laziness then but rather a lack of focus.

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