Monday Movie Review – Zack and Miri Make a Porno (2008)

zack_and_miri_make_a_porno

As soon as you see that this movie was written and directed by Kevin Smith, you pretty much know how it’s going to play out. It follows the standard Kevin Smith thing of a couple working class goofballs trying to do something more than just work at their terrible jobs. The movie is right within his wheelhouse and it is probably one of the better movies that he has done of late. That isn’t to say it isn’t without some flaws or misses.

The acting is well done. Seth Rogan and Elizabeth Banks as the titular Zack and Miri do a good job of portraying the “old friends that eventually fall in love” trope. The added complication of what happens when you add in sex to a friendship was handled a little poorly in that it made the two characters seem incredibly childish (though that may just be the characters). The supporting cast is all wonderful with Craig Robinson being the standout as Zack’s coworker Delaney. Most of the comedy in the film comes more from the side interactions of people, rather than the two main characters. Most of the stuff between Zack and Miri ends up being a lot of “will they, won’t they” and silly almost-romance scenes that aren’t particularly comedic.

The story is basically what you get on the box. Longtime friends Zack and Miri are broke and need extra money to pay for the past due bills and rent that are piling up. When they meet a friend at their high school reunion that went into porn and find out he makes quite a bit of money doing it, they decide that they should get in on that. They hire some “actors” and get Delaney to be the producer (i.e. the one that pays for the camera). The undertaking of the filming process brings them closer together while the tension of sleeping together and then sleeping with other people tears them apart. There aren’t a lot of twists and turns throughout and you can probably guess how the two of them end up by the end of the movie.

I don’t have much more to say on the film since it was competently shot and edited such that it didn’t seem to drag on or need much in the way of reworks. Probably both the highest praise and worst condemnation I can give the film is that was amusing and watchable. Perhaps if I were titillated by the idea of sex or pornography more, then the scenes with nudity or people going at it might actually be something to distinguish the film for me. Sadly, it mostly just serves as the platform for the movie and a couple of gross-out jokes (such as getting shit all over someone after a scene where one of the actresses was doing anal). Honestly, the jokes that come from the position of “sex is gross and weird” tend to fall pretty flat while the ones that play off of “people thinking sex is gross and weird is weird” work much better.

In all, I’d say it was worth the watch. I wouldn’t particularly say anyone should go out of their way to seek it out but if you like Kevin Smith’s other work and you’ve got an hour and a half to kill then it won’t be a total waste of time. I’d overall give it a 3.5 out of 5.

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