27 November 2008 | rparham
Zack & Miri Make a Porno and also make you laugh
It is difficult to imagine a title that will more or less tell you almost everything major that happens in the movie you are about to see than Zack & Miri Make a Porno. The title pretty much sums up the whole film right there, in the broad strokes. But, as with most things, the meat is in the subtext. What the title doesn't tell you is that while making a porno, Zack & Miri, and their other accomplices, will make you laugh pretty hard. Zack & Miri Make a Porno may not be high art, but it is very funny movie, with a touch of heart to go along with it.
Zack (Seth Rogen) and Miri (Elizabeth Banks) have been best friends for as long as they can remember. They live together, but in a completely platonic relationship, drive to work together and both attend their school reunion together. Things are a bit rough for them these days, though: their rather meager jobs are not bringing in enough money to keep the rent paid and all the utilities running. So, after running into an old classmate whose lover is the star of porno films in California, they hit upon a brilliant scheme to make some money: make a porno film.
In short order, they raise some capital from a co-worker (Craig Robinson), recruit a stripper, Stacey (Katie Morgan), Lester (Jason Mewes),a man who isn't afraid to expose himself, a cameraman (Jeff Anderson) and Zack and Miri plan to round out the cast themselves. However, in the process of getting down to business, Zack and Miri are realizing that their long-standing friendship may actually be something more, and can they manage to watch each other get it on with someone else after discovering that they may only want to be with each other.
One thing is certain: if you are not able to listen to frank jokes featuring almost every vulgar word in the English language, not to mention a fair dose of nudity and simulated sex, you should be looking elsewhere for an evening at the movies. Zack & Miri Make a Porno pulls few punches in these categories. If this is not an issue for you, then Zack & Miri will provide a plethora of laughs. As scripted by Kevin Smith, Zack & Miri is one hilarious joke after another, most of which comes from Smith's always impressive ability to weave some terrific conversations full of wit between his various characters. Zack & Miri Make a Porno, like all of Smith's best films, is all about the dialogue, and it works wonderfully, as always.
Seth Rogan is proving to be an actor who manages to give a performance that seems so completely unforced and natural. Zack, like many of Rogan's other roles, is a slice of life guy, and Rogen manages to make it seem like you are just watching a friend that you filmed around the house with a video camera. Elizabeth Banks is equally good in the role of Miri, and the two characters have a nice, natural chemistry, that evokes it's power when the two film their first sex scene for the porno, which Smith stages tastefully and scores with a great, unreleased song by Live. You know you care about what happens to these characters once this scene hits.
The supporting cast is strong, especially Robinson as Zack's co-worker who is principally interested in financing this film so he can see some women naked after being married for so long (A scene between his character and his wife late in the film is a riot) and Jason Mewes, no longer under the influence of drugs, proves that he will do almost anything in a film and gets plenty of laughs.
Zack & Miri Make a Porno is Kevin Smith's second turn at a film outside of his "View Askewniverse" series of films that he kicked off with Clerks, and it shows that Smith has ability to produce a funny film without exclusively relying on his old standby characters. In the process of doing so, he has crafted something that, if you can handle the racy nature of the material, will leave you in stitches.