Let me say this: I am not your normal Kevin Smith fanboy. I was there when Clerks was released upon the masses to remind people that fantastic comedy does not need a big budget. I was there when my high school past-time was ridiculed, to the point that I stopped going to the mall unless vitally important, with Mallrats. I kept up my fantastic hopes of bedding a hot lesbian with Chasing Amy. I laughed at my lost Catholicism with Dogma.
Then came Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, and Kevin Smith lost a bit of his luster. It wasn’t the worst movie ever, it was just the worst Kevin Smith movie, ever. Then came Jersey Girl, which I still haven’t seen yet, and may have been/will be a decent movie, once I get over Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. Lastly was Clerks II, which I haven’t seen thanks to it being visually polar opposite to the first Clerks (i.e. slickly produced, and in color. Those fascists…)
So why, after believing those last two Kevin Smith movies were not even worth my time, would I go see Zack and Miri Make A Porno? Simple: Role Models wasn’t out yet. And I’m glad it wasn’t, because Zack and Miri made me a Kevin Smith fan again.
The plot is pretty simple. Two life-long friends, Zack (played by Seth Rogen) and Miri (played by Elizabeth Banks), come under financial duress to the point of having their water and power shut off, and the possibility of eviction. When the platonic couple go to their ten-year high school reunion, they learn that:
a) the starting quarterback/homecoming king/genuine stud of their class is now gay.
b) his boyfriend (played by Justin Long) makes some serious cash as an actor in gay porn.
This news entices Zack and Miri to produce and star in their own porno, which they name Star Whores. With a rag-tag group made up of strippers, a hockey player, coffee baristas, and Jason Mewes, Zack and Miri try to create their movie, and learn a bit about their feelings for each other.
There is a lot working for this movie, enough for me to think I’ll go see it again, at least when it comes out on DVD. The comedy of the movie is perfect Kevin Smith dialogue. Sure, it’s stuff you probably talk to your friends about but larger, more universal. I think that’s why Kevin Smith movies always seem to do well. They connect to their viewers as an equal in actions (for the most part). You’re not just watching someone else’s life, you’re watching your life if these sort of hilarious occurrences happened to you.
The movie does have a lot of raunchy humor. Many critics wondered what kind of rabbit Smith pulled out of his ass to just get an “R” rating. The soon to be infamous “Ex-Lax alternative” scene was the pinnacle of the film’s toilet humor, which is a high standard but should be expected from a Kevin Smith movie. What would you expect from the man whose first movie climaxed at a girl having sex with a dead guy in the bathroom?
The casting was well done. Craig Robinson (now famous as Darryl from NBC’s The Office) does a phenomenal job as a supporting actor to Rogen. His racial-heavy jokes at the beginning truly lighten the mood in a movie that starts up, for lack of a more colorful word, depressing. Unfortunately, I fear for Robinson’s sake that he may end up type-casted, as this role seems to be “Darryl with a bit more cash.” Seth Rogen, as is his trademark, seems to be able to blurt out the most absurd things with perfect comedic timing, as usual. Elizabeth Banks shocked me with how composed she truly can be with so much absurdity surrounding her. I was a bit put off by the two trailers I saw before the movie starring her, as that is a pure sign of over-saturation.
So what could possibly be wrong with this movie? Not a whole lot, depending on what type of Kevin Smith movie you normally like. This movie has the facade of a “dick-and-fart-joke” movie, but at its core is the heart of a romantic comedy, and it doesn’t let you forget it. From the time Zack mentions the idea of making a porno to Miri to the end of the movie, the complications to arise out of these two friends having sex on camera is foreshadowed through-out, and it bugged the hell out of me. It was like reading a book, and knowing what was going to happen by the end, but you still wanted to see the “how.” My favorite Kevin Smith movie, Chasing Amy, did not use this ruse. This foreshadowing problem was heightened during the couple’s actual porn scene, which seemed to have no use except to choke the life out of the hilarity of the situation (which was barely saved by the cameraman’s quip).
In my final synopsis, I give this movie 4 out of 5 stirs of the mochachino.
Take away half a star if you see this movie with your guy friends, and you’re a guy. Add half a star if you go to this with your significant other.
(Note: Guys, if your girl goes to see this movie with you, you probably have a keeper. Ladies, listen to what I’m telling your guys.)