Zack and Miri Make a Porno (6/10)

zack-and-miri-2

This movie’s an interesting beast. On the one hand, it features some of the most hilarious dialogue and excellent performances that I’ve seen in a comedy in recent memory, but on the other, the script tries so hard to be something different and cool and funny at the beginning that you can’t help but be a little bit pissed off when the last half hour veers it into train-wreck love cliche territority – like a lot of Kevin Smith projects, the film struggles to find the balance between unadulterated raunch and a strong belief in the power of love, but unlike his talented counterpart Judd Apatow, the movie’s not so much able to toe the line as jump back and forth.

Seth Rogen is Zack Brown and Elizabeth Banks is Miriam Linky, two lifelong friends who live together and are starving and eating in the dark – they can’t pay their phone, electricty, or water bills, so one late night at a bar over a couple of beers, Zack has the genius idea to make a porno that they can sell to their high school graduating class and make bank. Miri’s none too enthused, but before you know it, they’re having casting sessions, writing the script, and filming, and Zack and Miri have to discover how their sex scene may change a little bit more than just their financial situation.

If it doesn’t sound surprising that of course there’s a love interest between Zack and Elizabeth, that’s because it isn’t; not at all – just like every other movie plotted similarly and predictably, two people who have been life-long friends have to of course expereince some feelings for each other as a result of the central conflict of the film – the actors are hilarious and they’re all fun to watch in the repetitive scenes and artificial plot extensions, but you can’t help but be a little disappointed that a comedy with such strong subject matter feels so sappy.

So yeah, the actors are pretty well chosen all around. Seth Rogen plays Seth Rogen (once again), but he’s his usual funny self so you end up not really caring that you’ve seen this character in “Knocked Up”, “The 40-Year Old Virgin”, and “Pineapple Express” before; Elizabeth Banks is more versatile of an actress than Rogen, but her performance here isn’t anything special. The actor who nearly steals the show is Craig Robinson, as the married casting director who “just wants to see some titties.” Brandon Routh and Justin Long cameo as two gay porn actors, and they’re flat-out the best part of the film.

Regardless of what you may end up thinking of the movie’s actual quality, if you’re a Kevin Smith fan it’s a must-see. It’s sad, looking at the movie; you can tell Smith relied too much on the subject matter to count for the traditional raunch in his comedy, and then swung for the fences on cliched romcom side – the result is a uneven and sometimes more frustrating than funny, but one that will most likely keep you laughing nearly constantly throughout.

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