Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Oh Kevin, I was hoping you wouldn’t do it but you did. You see I didn’t want to take my wife with me to see this movie, but when the screening notice came out she decided she had nothing else better to do. I tried to tell her, knowing her as I do and knowing the style of movies that you make, she wouldn’t enjoy it but she went along anyway. I knew I was going to have a problem even at the start when I saw Tisha Campbell-Martin’s name in opening the credits of ‘Zack and Miri make a Porno’ because I knew without even seeing a scene yet what her role was going to be, and that was the ‘hostile sista’. A far to common character in movies that when witnessed by my loving wife and attractive wife, it transforms her into my own personal ‘hostile sista’. Good thing she didn’t show up until the end. Dude, I thought your movie was funny, and my wife liked it about as little as I figured she would and she really ended up hating it by the time the ‘hostile sista’ showed up. Still, compared to Mr. Smith’s last movie ‘Clerks II’, I liked ‘Zack and Miri make a Porno’, despite the hostile sista, who quite honestly was more hostile than most.

Zack (Seth Rogen) and Miri (Elizabeth Banks) are a couple of lower class cats living as platonic roommates somewhere around Pittsburgh and they are struggling. I mean these two clowns put the double G in struggle they are struggling so bad. Zack works for near minimum wage at some Starbucks knock off along with his good buddy Delaney (Craig Robinson), the one married to the hostile sista, and I have no idea what Miri does to pay the bills. Not that it matters because the bills aren’t getting paid anyway as the rent is late and the utilities are in some order of shut off, or are soon about to be.

Miri is looking forward to the ten year high school reunion, mainly so she can hook up with her old crush Bobby Long (Brandon Routh), but unfortunately Superman has gone ‘Death Trap’ on us and is quite gay and we don’t mean happy gay. Plus he is in a passionate relationship with Brandon the male porn star, played by Justin Long who in

about two minutes of screen time takes the movie over and almost never gives it back. Anyway, due to a bizarre viral video situation combined with the inspired meeting of the male porn star, Zack gets a brilliant idea how to bring the pair out of their financial woes, thus the title, as Zack and Miri decide to make a porno flick. With the backing of Delaney’s Plasma TV fund and a cast which includes, among others, longtime Kevin Smith standby Jason Mewes playing the character of Lester who also, disturbingly, goes full frontal in this flick, former child porn star Traci Lords as Bubbles, and she is called this for reasons that are almost as disturbing as watching Jason Mewes walk around naked, and present porn star Katie Morgan as the anal loving Stacey who you may have seen previously in the classic dramatic piece ‘Black Cravings 4’.

The problem with the porn concept for Zack is that he’s in love with Miri and always has been and thus objects when the time comes for Miri to have relations with someone other than himself. Zack’s problems with this situation and Miri’s issues with Zack’s relationship, more or less, with Stacey and her big fake tits threatens to ruin all of the hard work of the cast and crew of this porn movie. Not that none of this matters because this particular porn movie was shaping up to be like the worst porn flick ever made. That is if I’ve ever seen a porn movie. Which I haven’t. Recently.

Funny freaking movie. At least the first half was funny. I’m talking pop spitting through you’re nose, slapping the guy next to you on back funny. If Kevin Smith has a gift it is that he’s able to write dialog and craft situations that are so clever and so funny that you can never guess what angle they are coming from which certainly keeps us in the audience on our virtual toes. Yes, ‘Zack and Miri make a Porno’ is crude and many parts are beyond tasteless but then I would hope this would be more or less expected in a joint like this. And can we all hail one Seth Rogen who I still must maintain the next time he plays a character outside of his basic personality it will be the first time, but goodness, in three successive movies he’s had Elizabeth Banks, Amber Heard and Katherine Heigl as his women, and got to have fake sex with two of them. Admittedly these women were paid quite handsomely to pretend to be in love with Mr. Rogen but still, how awesome is that? Even though we know what we’re going to get with Mr. Rogen he does do that thing he does quite well and along with the comic stylings of the absolutely drop dead gorgeous Elizabeth Banks, combined with Craig Robinson who is taking his role as the solitary Black dude in these Apatow type movies to the next level, ‘Zack and Miri’ is one funny ass movie. For the first half.

My man Kevin Smith is obviously a romantic at heart though and I would bet that given the chance he would love to guide Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan in a ‘Sleepless in Seattle’ sequel. ‘Zack and Miri’ stops being funny and transforms into mildly amusing as the romantic comedy aspects of the film kick in and take over a narrative that is subsequently filled with sentimentality and other sweet beautiful stuff. Not that there’s anything wrong with that but I would have personally preferred more tasteless, crass offensive comedy, especially since the tasteless comedy in the first half of this film managed to be tasteless in addition to driving the story and just wasn’t tasteless for the sake of being tasteless.

One half of a really funny tasteless movie + one half of a mildly amusing RomCom still make a whole funny movie, hostile sista aside. Kevin Smith fans could care less what I or anybody else think since they will see a Kevin Smith movie in the bowels of hell if necessary but for the rest of us, this was a fairly wicked comedy and it’s nice to see that Mr. Smith still has his edge when need be.

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