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  Zack and Miri Make a Porno Action!
Year: 2008
Director: Kevin Smith
Stars: Seth Rogen, Elizabeth Banks, Craig Robinson, Jason Mewes, Jeff Anderson, Traci Lords, Katie Morgan, Ricky Mabe, Tisha Campbell-Martin, Brandon Routh, Gerry Bednob, Justin Long, Edward Janda, Nicholas Lombardi, Chris Milan, Jennifer Swalbach, Tom Savini
Genre: ComedyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Zack (Seth Rogen) and Miri (Elizabeth Banks) live together in an apartment in Pittsburgh, but there's nothing romantic about their relationship, they're strictly friends. Friends in dire need of financial assistance, with a pile of bills to pay and the winter weather biting into their bank accounts, but they seem to be getting by, if only just. Zack works in a coffee shop with Delaney (Craig Robinson), who is put out that he has to cover for him the next morning, because Zack and Miri are going to their high school reunion tonight. However, an acccident involving her unwittingly being filmed trying on outfits may be a public embarrassment, but also places a thought in her pal's mind...

I have a theory about this film, and that is this was a tribute to the great British sex comedies of the seventies. Now, I have no idea if writer and director Kevin Smith has even heard of Confessions of a Window Cleaner and its ilk, never mind seen them, but Zack and Miri has a plot that could have been lifted straight from one of those vintage efforts, specifically one of the best ever made, Eskimo Nell, which also features the problems of making a film. But the main reason that this reminded me of those sex comedies is that it looks absolutely freezing throughout.

If that doesn't make it obvious, I don't know what does. Anyway, Smith gave into his sentimental side once more on this, but don't despair, this was no return to Jersey Girl slush, as the ribald humour was there in abundance and made the romance far easier to take. Plenty of people were offended by the very notion of love being found on the set of an amateur porn movie, not least the American censors more aghast at the sexual content than anything else, but actually it's this sweet natured quality that others saw a lot to like in, and if there were dodgy gags, so much the better.

Here the theme is that sex is never just sex, there are always complications whether that may be love or a financial arrangement, both of which are considered in this. How do Zack and Miri reach this stage? Well, at their high school reunion he gets talking to someone he doesn't recognise, who turns out to be gay porn star Brandon J. Randy (Justin Long), brought along by boyfriend Bobby (Brandon Routh) who Miri is desperately trying to chat up. The thought that you can make a lot of money in pornorgraphy begins playing on Zack's mind after Miri's internet embarrassment, and when their utilities are cut off, the rest writes itself.

So a sex movie it is, and although Miri is not too keen, she is brought round by the thought that the cash flow situation will be handled, and the idea for an explicit spoof on a popular movie is hatched. And which movie do you think Mr Smith chooses for his characters to act out? Take a guess. That's right, Out of Africa - no, ha, ha, only joking, it's Star Wars again. But before we get the chance to sit through Ye Olde Star Wars Joke Book once more, there is a complication and Zack and his new company of filmmakers, who include real life porn stars Traci Lords and Katie Morgan as well as members of Smith's stock players, are forced into a compromise: shoot it in the coffee shop. Some viewers couldn't accept that Zack and Miri's onscreen sex is what creates a spark of love, much like they couldn't accept the depiction of lesbians in Chasing Amy, yet it's a warmhearted place this is coming from, and comedy thrives on unlikely plots. If Smith was chiefly playing to his fans by this time, then they knew what they were going to get, and would be very pleased. Music by James L. Venable and Chris Ward.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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Kevin Smith  (1970 - )

American writer-director, by turns self-indulgent and hilarious. His first film Clerks brought him cult success, but he followed it with the big studio flop Mallrats. Chasing Amy was a return to form, and Dogma courted religious controversy. Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back was a tribute to the double act who appeared in every one of his films up until then (Silent Bob was played by Smith himself). Jersey Girl was a conventional romantic comedy that disappointed most of his fans.

Smith is also a writer of comic books, both established characters (Daredevil, Green Arrow) and his own creations. An attempt to turn Clerks into a cartoon series was a failure - but it was damn funny all the same. Fans of the characters could console themselves with the sequel Clerks II. He then offered sex comedy Zack and Miri Make a Porno to mixed reviews, and Cop Out to downright terrible ones which led him to much public complaining. Self-proclaimed horror movie Red State, however, won him some of the best reactions of his career, though audiences were fewer in number.

 
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