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Review: Zack and Miri Make a Porno (2008)

Director: Kevin Smith | 102 minutes | drama, comedy, romance | Actors: Elizabeth Banks, Seth Rogen, Jason Mewes, Brandon Routh, Justin Long, Anne Wade, Tom Savini, Traci Lords, Katie Morgan, Craig Robinson, Gerry Bednob, Edward Janda, Nicholas Lombardi, Chris Milan, Jennifer Schwalbach Smith, Kenny Hotz , Jeff Anderson, Jim Norton, Jean-Pierre Nutini, Alice Eisner, David Early, Mattt Potter, Ricky Mabe, Lena Cheney, Marie Blanchard, Deanna Betros, Danielle Fortwangler, Katelyn Hoffman, Ashley Kunich, Katie Morgan, Craig Robinson, Milos Milicevic , James W. Smith, Tyler Labine, Tisha Campbell-Martin, Lauren Anne Miller

In “Zack and Miri Make a Porno,” Zack (Seth Rogen) and Miri (Elizabeth Banks) are two old school friends who share a platonic friendship and a home. Both have simple jobs, their meager income is barely enough to pay the rent, the unpaid bills are piling up. Zack is the type of young man with above average overweight, Miri is the type of modest blonde of humble origins. They have not made it clear in life so far. In order not to have to go to a reunion at their former school alone, they go together out of necessity. There, Miri meets an old flame, Bobby Long (Brandon Routh). She unabashedly imposes herself on him, but then it soon comes out that Bobby is homosexual. Bobby has his friend, Brandon St Randy (Justin Long), who turns out to be a star in gay porn movies. When Zack and Miri go home, the electricity is cut off because Zack has not paid the bills. They are also in danger of being evicted.

In the cafe they drown their worries, but then come up with the bright idea to make a porn movie as well. After all, that should generate a lot of money! Delaney (Craig Robinson), a colleague and friend of Zack’s, lends them money that was actually meant to buy a TV. Auditions follow and a motley collection of actors who are to act in the film are brought together, including an actress from porn movies. Zack and Miri are going to play the lead roles themselves, vehemently emphasizing that the sex they will have in the film is only a technical act for the film, it should not affect their platonic friendship. It is clear that this agreement will not stand.

The film story that then develops does not contain any major surprises and is actually relatively conventional. Zack and Miri have a soulful sex scene as part of the movie shoot. Then they turn out, hidden away, to cherish feelings that they obviously do not want to admit. The plot of “Zack and Miri Make a Porno” itself is, in fact, less important. Naturally, such a does not have to be very profound, but it must be based on the momentum and the many jokes. The film is a mixture of and romantic love story (progressing according to the formulas that apply to such a genre) with the type of film where regularly sexually oriented jokes are made in a relatively flat way.

The casting is well done, especially the title roles. Seth Rogen is a great actor for such films and there is clearly a chemistry between the two protagonists. The other roles are also adequately fulfilled. In this parody there is regular good painting. Director Kevin Smith has consciously opted for an over-the-top form of fun and jokes. It is unabashedly thick on top. That commitment is not always successful, there are moments with hilarious humor that can be laughed at. Real confrontational sex scenes do not contain “Zack and Miri Make a Porno” because it is above all a comedy and not a porn movie.

“Zack and Miri Make a Porno” is not vulgar, but one scene is unsavory. Still, one may roar about that scene, but the other may feel embarrassed. Not a film for all too sensitive souls. If you can see through the somewhat harder exterior of the anal and oral jokes and jokes and you are not too bothered by the linguistic fuck and suck content and appreciate the sometimes coarse humor that goes with it, there is plenty to laugh about. You know what to expect and you get it!

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