Two lifelong platonic friends, strapped for cash and in debt, decide to make a porno.
Genres: Comedy; Running Time: 1 hr. 41 min.; Release Date: October 31st, 2008 (wide); MPAA Rating: R for strong crude sexual content including dialogue, graphic nudity and pervasive language.
Starring: Seth Rogen, Elizabeth Banks, Jason Mewes, Katie Morgan, Craig Robinson
Directed by: Kevin Smith
I had downloaded this from Amazon’s Unboxed service last week, and we just got around to watching it last night. What a treat it was. We laughed all the way through the movie.
As Jackie Treehorn laments in The Big Lebowski, pornos these days lack plot, and production values, and feelings. Kevin Smith’s “Zack and Miri Make a Porno” would make Jackie quite proud. It’s easy to see how it got an R rating (and it was nearly rated NC-17), but you just really don’t think about the sex, as it’s really all about the story. That’s not exactly how I want to say, but I can’t think of the words.
Seth Rogen proves he can convey emotion and still be funny. Elizabeth Banks provides the perfect on-screen mate for Rogen. However, Craig Robinson (Darrell from The Office) steals nearly every scene he is in.Rogen plays Zack and Banks plays Miri, two best friends living in a crummy little apartment in Pittsburgh. The bills are stacking up , the heat and electricity have been turned off and they’re about to be thrown out. What do two struggling thirty-somethings do? While attending their High School reunion, they discover that the school’s former Quarterback (Brandon Routh) is actually gay and the boyfriend of gay porn star Brandon (Justin Long). This gives Zack an idea and after ruminating over it for a night, he and Miri both decide that a porno is the only way to solve their money woes. They enlist the help of Zack’s coffee shop co-worker Delaney (Craig Robinson) to be producer and also bring on a rag tag team of actors (Jason Mewes, Jeff Anderson, Traci Lords, Katie Morgan, and Ricky Mabe), first to shoot the movie “Star Whores” with such characters as R2-Teabag, Hung Solo, and Darth Vibrator and then when the have a shooting problem, they decide to do a coffee shop porn called “Swallow my Cock-Ucinno”.
Rogen is funny and enthusiastic. And Banks is adorable with good comedic chemistry with Rogen but most importantly both actors bring a gentle and heartwarming romance to the screen. The rest of the cast is a big help, starting with Craig Robinson, who nails every line the character has, whether it’s defying what he believes to be racism (which is everything), talking about his wife, or nervously auditioning porn stars, he’s the funniest character in the movie. A close second is Justin Long, hilariously flamboyant and filled with gay pride to the point of being applause-worthy. Jason Mewes is at his crude best in every scene he’s in. “Zack and Miri” gets very good performances from everybody and it manages to do what a lot of romantic comedies this year have not been able to do, which is earn the laughs and earn the love of it’s two characters. It’s funny and fun and worth every minute.