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Zack And Miri Make A Porno – The Geekscape Review by Brent Moore

Kevin Smith is one of the most idiosyncratic writer/directors out there. He has cultivated a devoted geek following by creating his own world to play in. A world full of long winded, inhumanly witty pop culture junkies stuck in a state of extended adolescence. Basically he populates his universe with different versions of himself.

Until now, Smith has only ventured outside of this safety net once. The result was the universally reviled (unfairly so in my opinion) Jersey Girl. Zach and Miri is Smith’s second outing outside of his “View Askewniverse” and interestingly enough is his first film that isn’t marketed heavily as a “Kevin Smith” movie.

You see, Smith clearly took notice of the recent success of Judd Apatow, who in many ways is Smith’s successor in the film comedy world, and he has filled his cast this time around with Apatow regulars and the film is being marketed as a Seth Rogen movie. This is reflected in the movie itself as well. The dialogue and performances are much looser here and feel more ad-libbed a la Apatow than overly written a la Kevin Smith.

Fortunately, this change in tone doesn’t diminish the humor, and yes, Zack and Miri is funny. Very funny.

The movie follows some very Smith-esque characters. Vulgar, dirty minded twenty-somethings caught in a state of arrested development. Zack and Miri are best friends and roommates who are barely making rent working as cashiers at a coffee shop (yes, another Smith film that takes place largely behind the counter). They attend their 10 year high school reunion and try to convince themselves they are better than they were when they graduated but both know that they are not. They’ve done nothing with their lives and when the electricity finally gets cut off they are forced to face this fact and resort to drastic measures to get money. And of course they come up with the only logical solution, having sex with each other. On tape.

In the age of free internet porn, this concept seems a bit ludicrous but Smith actually manages to make it credible. They only want to make enough money to pay off their bills and figure they can sell to their old classmates thinking that anyone would pay to see someone they went to school with naked. The world of porn is pretty ripe for comedy (it’s basically one step removed from being comedy anyways) and Smith definitely takes advantage of this and creates some hilarious bits out of it.

And thus the ball gets rolling on a pretty by the numbers plot. You know all of the story beats from here on out. The experience will make Zack and Miri realize that they have feelings for each other. They will sabotage the relationship through their own stupidity. Finally, after some self reflection, they will get back together and live happily ever after. You’ve seen the movie a thousand times but luckily Smith fills this clichéd plot with some great jokes and moments that brought the house down at this US premiere. Also, boobs. And let me break the news to you now so you aren’t utterly disappointed when the film is finally released: Elizabeth Banks doesn’t get naked. I know. I was bummed too.

The MPAA battles that Smith has faced with this movie are well documented and it is indeed a very hard R with explicit nudity and sexual dialogue. There is one scene in particular that will have you reeling from shock and disbelief. If you thought the (deleted by editor because it’s a serious spoiler) scene in Burn After Reading was the most shocking thing you’d see in theaters this year, just wait.

If you are an Apatow or Smith fan then you should check this one out. It won’t move you or surprise you but it will make you laugh and that’s all you can really ask of it. Also, any movie that features Superman’s Brandon Routh and Apple’s Justin Long as gay lovers deserves some credit. I’ve been waiting to see that for years…

Posted  Fri 19th Sep 2008 Modified  Sun 27th Nov 2011

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