Zack and Miri Make a Porno (Weinstein Co.)

Zack and Miri Make a Porno (Weinstein Co.)
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3 stars (out of 4)

Kevin Smith has made some of the funniest, most honest & refreshing films of the past 15 years (Clerks, Chasing Amy, Mallrats, Dogma) but has yet to find that one “breakout” release that pushes him from the comforts of indie-obscurity into big box-office.
And this is in spite of the fact that his latest film, Zack and Miri Make a Porno, stars the commercially hot Seth Rogen (Knocked Up, Superbad and Pineapple Express).  Rogen leapt at the chance to work with Smith as he felt that, without Smith, he wouldn’t even have had the opportunity to breakout in films.

As a fan, I was really wishing that, with the presence of Rogen, this film would take off and give Smith the leverage he deserves for the future.  Though a film with the word “Porno” in the title definitely has limited potential and Smith had several run-ins with the powers that be (MPAA, advertisers, networks, newspapers, etc.) over content, the title, the trailer and the posters, I guess the film has done quite good commercially considering its obstacles and will no doubt do very well on DVD.

The plot centers on Zack (Rogen) and Miri (Elizabeth Banks of the current films W. and Role Models) in desperate financial times and in the throes of post-10 Year High School Reunion funk.  So desperate that when both the water and power are shut off in the apartment the two share (with eviction a looming follow-up) the idea of making a porno is only briefly considered a bad one before plans are set in motion.

With a cast of Smith veterans (Jason Mewes displays more of himself here than I ever thought I would see, while Jeff Anderson, as the porn’s director, is a welcome return to the filmmaker’s stable) as well as alumni of Judd Apatow films (Rogen, Banks, Justin Long – hilarious as a gay porn star and Craig Robinson is the film’s shining star as the porn’s financier) Zack and Miri Make A Porno works best as an ensemble piece rather than just as a showcase for Rogen.

Smith manages to wring out some real emotional moments in the otherwise loony plot, best of which is the moment when Zack and Miri film their “scene” and it ends more loving than anatomical.  Sure the fact that these two friends ultimately realize they are in love and manage to make a mess of things before ultimately realizing the errors of their ways is a bit on the predictable side, and, while nothing here matches the highs of Smith’s best efforts in either comedy or drama, Zack and Miri Make A Porno manages to get by with an awful lot of charm.  Ultimately, it’s this charm that makes it the most cuddly of films involving the porn business I’ve ever witnessed.

Zack and Miri Make A Porno is currently in a theater near you.


Official Zack and Miri Make A Porno Website

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