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Zack and Miri Make a Porno

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Here's my review of Zack and Miri Make a Porno.

Zack and Miri Make a Porno

Kevin Smith's jokes don't always have a setup. Some don't even have a punchline; the humor comes from the flow of the dialogue and its subject matter. It's all in the execution, rather than the idea.

With Zack and Miri Make a Porno, Smith ventures into the realm of the concept film -- the setup is in the title, and you probably had a pretty good idea as to whether or not it’s something you'd want to see the moment you heard it.

The events of the film are spurred by an old standby: the characters need money. Platonic roommates Zack (Seth Rogen) and Miri (Elizabeth Banks) are behind on their rent and utilities and have had their heat, water, and electricity shut off. Miri humorously observes that this is exactly the sort of situation that drives people to go into pornographic films. Zack thinks this is brilliant, talks her into giving it a try, and both of them reassure the other that they won't let a little thing like having sex on screen interfere with their friendship. Why would it?

They scrape together some particularly adventurous venture capital and hold auditions to flesh out the rest of the cast. Naturally, things don't always go smoothly during the filming; logistical and emotional hurdles abound, and the budding pornographers have to get fairly creative (and sometimes juvenile) to keep production going. Thankfully for them, making an adult film doesn't actually require them to behave like adults.

Smith’s penchant for outrageous dialogue is well-known, and Zack and Miri is another example of it. It never occurs to any of the characters to censor anything they say, and there's usually a hysterical disconnect between the topic of conversation and the importance they attach to it. Never before have people had such deep beliefs about such shallow things, but they make up in wit what they usually lack in perspective.

Of course, you can expect plenty of fairly explicit sex scenes (though they're all played for laughs), and at least one jaw-dropping, gross-out blind side, which is as well-timed as it is tasteless. Of course, if you knowingly see a film with a title like this, you don't have much ground for complaint. Expect a constant struggle between your dignity and your sense of humor, and expect the latter to win out.

Fans of both the "View Askewniverse" and the Apatow comedy cartel will notice plenty of familiar supporting faces, including Jeff Anderson (Clerks) and Craig Robinson (Knocked Up). In a production like this, all the characters need to buy wholesale into the off-balance world Smith's placed them in; just one normal person could ruin it for the rest of them. Instead, they all exhibit the same structured insanity, and they help paint the film's corners just as brightly as its center.

Zack and Miri Make a Porno has no compunction about shocking the audience, though it doesn't go for the gross-out any more than it has to. Its characters behave realistically, and it never gives up on the idea that their thoughts and feelings matter, and should drive the story. Though not always the most noticeable organ in the film, it does have a heart.

Welcome to the human race...
Nice work, dude. I can't believe I have to wait until mid-January to see this crap.
I really just want you all angry and confused the whole time.

LOL . Zack and Miri had me laughing so hard . This movie is the second most funniest film this year after Tropic Thunder.

Well, I have to admit that until now the cast (Rogen, who I'm no great fan of) and the title have been offputting to me.

I'm starting to think that maybe I'll give it a try. After I've watched the 114 or so in front of it on my que.

Nice review though, as ever.

I just saw this movie and its hilarious. The humor is very spot on for young adults (18-30). Older people may not get some of the jokes. Just so you're not alarmed, there's a good amount of nudity...girl and guy.

I just saw this movie and its hilarious. The humor is very spot on for young adults (18-30). Older people may not get some of the jokes. Just so you're not alarmed, there's a good amount of nudity...girl and guy.
Surely you're not implying that nudity would be alarming to 'older' people?

Bright light. Bright light. Uh oh.
Right. Old people were nude before young people were (unless you're both the old and the young person, which you may well become before you know it... )
It's what you learn after you know it all that counts. - John Wooden
My IMDb page

Welcome to the human race...
I just saw this movie and its hilarious. The humor is very spot on for young adults (18-30). Older people may not get some of the jokes. Just so you're not alarmed, there's a good amount of nudity...girl and guy.
I wouldn't underestimate old people like that, dude.

And nudity is alarming now?

Here's what i said in the Movie Tab

Zak and Miri Make a Porno- i wonder if this started production before Be Kind, Rewind as this is almost an adult version of that. It's a pretty decent concept for a film, although it is essentially a single idea perpetuated alongside a predictable romance. The whole film is pretty contrived and eventually turns out to be utterly pointless in a somewhat lazy script. Smith has tried to make a Apatow comedy, casting Rogen is an obvious symptom, and combines a Tarantino-esque infatuation with 'realistic' dialogue. For what the is there, it's enjoyable although not fully realised and gets lost in itself without ever really making any aspects stand out. It's almost a shame the funniest moment comes from resorting to gross-out comedy. Performances are all good from a talented cast with some nice spots from Smith regulars and other faces in different roles. Overall a pretty average film primarily relying on a single concept that still manages some laughs but the despite being outlandish and risqué, fails to meet the competition.


I never could get the hang of Thursdays.
Nice review. This is not high on my list of films to see as I am not really a big fan of Smith. I did have a conversation about the title the other day, though: should the word 'porno' be in big letters on the sides of buses where kids can see it? Or is that just being prudish?

I don't think it's a big deal. I mean, i'm sure most people who would comprehend the word would be aware of it or not surprised. Although, i did read (probably on IMDB) that some advertisements merely referred to it as Zak and Miri

I never could get the hang of Thursdays.
I can already see the spoof version of this, Zack and Miri make a gorno, in which broke flatmates torture each other to death to raise some cash...

Surprised you didn't like it much, Pyro. I'm not sure I'd say that Smith has an "infatuation" with realistic dialogue; I think he writes how he writes, and he doesn't really care for the more polished, eloquent dialogue in many films. And let's be honest: almost nobody talks the way movie characters do, particularly in any number of high-minded dramas.

What I find interesting is that when someone is said to write "realistic" dialogue, it seems more and more to refer to someone who writes taboo things. In other words, it's not just that the dialogue resembles the way some people actually talk, it's that the characters say the things a lot of us think, but don't usually verbalize. That's certainly the case in Zack and Miri Make a Porno, and in most of the Apatow (producted/written/directed) films.

That said, even "realistic" dialogue usually has to be a bit sharper than real-life dialogue, if only because it has to be especially interesting. I dug it in Zack and Miri because I thought it was funny, mainly, and it rang true enough most of the time.

Well, i say infatuation because i thought at times Smith got somewhat over confident and that he was writing such good realistic dialogue that he continued scenes to the point they got boring and tedious. I think maybe Peep Show spoiled me with rich taboo-breaking realistic dialogue/thoughts.

That's a good observation, I think; that this kind of dialogue relies at least somewhat on shock and novelty to have its full effect.

I can definitely see why someone may think a few of the sequences went on too long. I came close to feeling this way myself during the reunion dance, actually, but I found it all funny enough that I didn't mind. But it was definitely long enough that I noticed it was long, so I'd say that's a pretty fair critique.

omg i laughed soooo hard at this movie! the crap part omg! i was dying

Pretty good movie. Kevin Smith when he focuses on real human stuff is quite good.

And I am willing to trust Seth Rogen again now after that piece of crap Pineapple Express.