Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie's plot.
When it comes to outrageous comedy, Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes are at the top of my list. You might know them better as Jay and Silent Bob from classics such as Clerks I & II, Mallrats, Dogma and Chasing Amy. What you might not be so aware of is that Kevin Smith is the writer and director, while Jason Mewes may go otherwise uncredited but it can be no secret that he’s Smith’s buddy, creative “mewes” and the source of much his material. Kevin Smith’s latest release is the controversially titled Zack and Miri Make a Porno.
First things first, it’s not a Jay and Silent Bob movie or tied into any of Smith’s other movies, although previous favorites do appear in different roles. The premise is pretty simple. Zack (Seth Rogen) and Miri (Elizabeth Banks) are platonic roommates and friends since school. When funds run short, and the power and water get cut off they figure that the best way to turn things around would be to make a porno. They’d never thought of each other sexually before, but having sex for money is a different matter. Off they embark rounding up a cameraman (Jeff Anderson), and a posse of actors (Jason Mewes in addition to real life porn stars Katie Morgan and Traci Lords).
What we get is a mixture of soft porn, combined with Kevin Smith’s usual dialogue of philosophical and sexual banter. In the opening scenes the sexual jokes are so thick and fast that it verges on overly excessive. That might be the Smith intention and style, but it took me a little while to warm to Seth Rogen in this role. His role in fact does seem to be another parody of previous Smith characters: Jay, Randal or Brodie. Where Rogen seemed to flourish, however, was when he was no longer the center of attention as new characters and subplots are introduced. He seemed much more impressive as an observer in disbelief, amazement or fascination at what he was seeing and hearing. He has a natural talent for reaction and response.
The sex jokes are obviously coming due to the nature of this movie, and expectedly in Smith style the humor is often outrageous. I won’t offer any spoilers but remember this is the guy who showed a guy having sex with a donkey. If you want more of that you won’t be shortchanged. There are plenty of memorable moments to throw into the Kevin Smith catalogue.
Underneath all the humor however, there’s a developing love interest. Zack and Miri are only having sex on tape to make a little bit of money and help each other out. What they don’t realize, unlike everyone around them, and everyone watching the movie is that there’s more between them. This makes out for the overly repetitious love story. It becomes a typical story of boy wins girl, boy disappoints girl, both realize how empty their lives are without each other and yawn, boy and girl get honest with each other. Smith has been trying to make a more mature movie for years (Chasing Amy, Jersey Girl) with indifferent results. Clearly it was necessary to the storyline but it just seems to put a dampener on the last 30 minutes of the movie. And even then, it really doesn’t seem convincing or particularly well done. I forgot to mention that I’m not a fan of romantic comedies.
So where does this leave the movie? Thankfully the love story is only a small part. It’s really about the premise of some down-and-outs making a porno and sharing sexual jokes. In that regard this is another typically funny Kevin Smith movie. There was plenty of entertainment and hilarious moments but while most of Smith’s movies would have me pining to see them again or with a bunch of jokes to tell my friends about, this one just didn’t seem to have the same magic. Previous movies such as Chasing Amy, Mallrats, and Clerks II all had love stories built in but they were intrinsic sideshows to the comedy. Where Zack and Miri fell short for me is that it seems to be a comedy for the most part, then just stops and becomes a love story. The two just didn’t seem to mix together too well.
Final Recommendation: If you’re a Kevin Smith fan there’s plenty here to laugh at, but it’s far from being his best work.
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Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Good Date Movie
Suitability For Children: Not suitable for Children of any age