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Overall Rating

Awesome: 10.42%
Worth A Look35.42%
Just Average: 27.08%
Pretty Crappy: 16.67%
Sucks: 10.42%

5 reviews, 18 user ratings

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Zack and Miri Make a Porno
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by Rob Gonsalves

"Good stuff, but Smith needs to learn women aren't just objects of desire."
4 stars

It should come as no surprise that Kevin Smith’s new movie "Zack and Miri Make a Porno" isn’t really about making a porno.

Sure, the eponymous characters Zack (Seth Rogen) and Miri (Elizabeth Banks), twentysomethings subsisting platonically in a ratty Monroeville apartment, do decide to put together a quickie piece of adult cinema to pay the bills. And yes, they follow through on this scheme. But Smith, the writer-director behind such amiably raunchy comedies as Clerks and Dogma, is a romantic sheep in wolf’s clothing, and the raunchiness usually always points toward gentler feelings.

Zack and Miri can also be taken, on some level, as Smith’s love letter to filmmaking. A motley crew, including “producer” Delaney (scene-stealing Craig Robinson) and “cameraman” Deacon (Jeff Anderson), moves heaven and earth to get a shabby-looking DIY flick in the can. This is pretty much the story of Smith’s $25,000 debut Clerks, which was shot in a convenience store where Smith worked at the time, much like the eventual porno filmed after hours at Zack’s Starbucks-like workplace.

The problem for Smith when he goes mooshy is that, like many another male scripter, he can’t really write women. Elizabeth Banks cashes in all her considerable charm as Miri, but she’s stuck in a lot of unplayable scenes (like the one at the class reunion where she drunkenly tries to seduce a classmate who turns out to be gay), and the movie has very little curiosity about Miri. Unless I blinked and missed it — or else it made so little impression that it didn’t register with me — we don’t even find out where she works. And I’d say she agrees to have sex on camera a little too readily. Smith writes the ideal women to hang out with but doesn’t quite know who they are.

Despite that, Zack and Miri plays well enough as an affectionate farce about what people will do to keep the lights and water on. It’s not an entirely credible scenario — with the amount of porn available for free online, who’s going to pay for a copy of Zack and Miri’s porno? — but it works as a metaphor for desperation in the current bleak economy. For the supporting cast, Smith brings in such secret weapons as Jason Mewes (as Lester the eager porn star) and actual porn queens Traci Lords and Katie Morgan. The movie plays like a conflation of John Waters’ last two efforts — 2000’s ode to guerrilla filmmaking Cecil B. DeMented and 2004’s fetishistic A Dirty Shame. The Kevin Smith gutter chat comes fast and furious, possibly expanding the parameters of how much raunchy dialogue one can pack into a film and still keep an R rating.

It’s a companionable enough experience, even though the title should really be "Zack Makes a Porno (with Miri)." It takes two to tango, Kev. Maybe next time Smith will recruit a female screenwriter as good-hearted yet filthy-minded as he is, and he’ll really have something.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=17352&reviewer=416
originally posted: 11/02/08 10:05:33
[printer] printer-friendly format  
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2008 Toronto International Film Festival For more in the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: Fantastic Fest 2008 For more in the Fantastic Fest 2008 series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2008 Chicago International Film Festival For more in the 2008 Chicago International Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

1/31/13 Charles Tatum Funny, gross, but surprisingly sweet 4 stars
7/29/10 art a movie to watch on an AIRPLANE! 2 stars
10/02/09 Hayfa Good Day. As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live. Help me! Need informati 1 stars
8/25/09 antonio porno 5 stars
7/19/09 Heather Absolutely hilarious. 5 stars
7/02/09 Josie Cotton is a goddess Weak Kevin Smith, but its better then no Kevin Smith 4 stars
6/20/09 Dominic Horrible - sorry! 1 stars
5/23/09 art A GREAT RAINY DAY MOVIE! 1 stars
3/07/09 mr.mike It was OK 4 stars
12/04/08 Martin Scorcese Kevin Smith is a big fat asshole and isn't even fit to suck my dick. 1 stars
11/23/08 George Barksdale Different, but funny, enjoyed it. 4 stars
11/10/08 Colleen H really... not even smile worthy 1 stars
11/09/08 stephen goodridge I dont like seth rogen 2 stars
11/09/08 Samantha Pruitt very raunchy, has it's funny parts, loses steam in the second half 4 stars
11/06/08 Q AWSOME Brandon St. Randy is my Idol!!! No Homo 5 stars
11/03/08 Will filthy and funny, but still a chick flick 3 stars
11/03/08 Ronald Pottol it worked for me, very funny, and sweet 5 stars
10/31/08 tiffany pettey i would suggest this to cheer you up 5 stars
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  31-Oct-2008 (R)
  DVD: 03-Feb-2009


  DVD: 03-Feb-2009

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