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Monday, April 1, 2013

Movie Review: ZACK AND MIRI MAKE A PORNO (2008)

Elizabeth Banks and Seth Rogen

ZACK AND MIRI MAKE A PORNO

Review by Amelia

FILM DETAILS
Review Score: 50% (Mediocre)
Director: Kevin Smith
Genre: Comedy, Romance
Starring: Seth Rogen, Elizabeth Banks, Traci Lords, Justin Long, Jason Mewes, Katie Morgan, Brandon Routh, Jeff Anderson
Runtime: 101
Rating: R on appeal for strong crude sexual content including dialogue, graphic nudity and pervasive language
There are a lot to be said about "Zach and Miri Make a Porno", and still it leaves no impression as it sulks into the background of Kevin Smith’s body of work: "Clerks", "Clerks II", "Chasing Amy", even behind his cameo in "Die Hard 4: Live Free or Die Hard"; and when you fail to shine compared to the great grandson of the "Die Hard" franchise you know you’ve failed. Smith’s strange brand of humor is always a hit or miss shot, and critics say that here he didn’t even seem to try.

Well, I don’t know if I agree with the lack of trying, I think this is a perfect example of executing a project that has a shaky premise and then overstuffing it with what should be "in depth analysis" but ends up being "abnormal lines coming from the mouths of very bored people", and a string of slap stick humor that is too raunchy to be appreciated by the people who were expecting a romantic comedy, and not raunchy enough to be liked by true Kevin Smith fans.

Elizabeth Banks and Seth Rogen in Zack and MIri Make a Porno

The story is a "making of" a low budget porno flick, which is supposed to get Zack and Miri, childhood friends and roommates, out of debt. They are joined by a diverse fauna of odd friends and, by the time they get to their actual on-camera sex scene, they start to develop feelings for each other. There are glimpses of romances that seem real in detail, but they lack credibility when you look at the big picture. Also, I was not very amused by the supporting cast, who seemed caricatures or props, but never people, and their lines were clearly forced and thus unfunny. The "Knocked Up" routine where beautiful women fall for fat annoying perpetually weeded men is very hard to watch the 24243th time, and so many movies still do not make it believable. Also, they’ve lived together for years and suddenly it hits them how made for each other they really are (a problem that also the Sandra Bullock comedy "The Proposal" does not fully address). There is not one joke that made me laugh in that whole script, and knowing that this is the work of the director of "Chasing Amy" made it even harder to digest. The weed habits, the slacker jobs, the crazy group of friends, it’s all been done before and the lack of novelty makes it easier to spot the big holes in the plot, the uneven pacing and the akward exposition.

Elizabeth Banks

The good part is that the two main characters are very likeable. Of course, Seth Rogen plays the same type of lazy slob that Judd Apatow has had a crush on for so long; there is nothing new about his performance, and although 2008 was the year of Ben Stone clones, usually played by Rogen himself, sometimes by Jason Segel, I still enjoyed him, as I was not oversaturated yet at the time that I saw this movie. I am now. Elizabeth Banks is very pretty, and she brings a bit of light into the tired script, but not the kind of light that would eventually save this movie, but the kind that cemented the nausea of "Clerks" fans that were probably not expecting a romantic comedy. She is great in the duo, but very inappropriately wedged into a production of a director that made a point out of not relying on female beauty of finesse. They would’ve worked some other place, with another script, and while not making a porno. Here, they are cartoonishly displayed, but I sort of found their new found love for each other endearing, especially after I’ve blocked out the setup.

I did not find any of the things that were shown to me to be excessively porno or outrageous. There was the girl with fake breasts, and some shots for the film-within-film, nothing over the top, and very strangely out of place for a movie with the word "porno" in the title. My opinion is that either the director had a vision that was not supported by the script that he himself wrote or that he just took some cash and didn’t care further than that point. Either way, this is clearly a miss.

ENTERTAINMENT FACTOR SCORE : 50% (Mediocre)





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