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Published on October 30th, 2008 | by simeon

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Zack and Miri Make a Porno

zackZack (Seth Rogan), and Miri (Elizabeth Banks), are two lifelong friends with problems. Their lives in a Pittsburgh Suburb have not turned out as well as they would have hoped as they find themselves mired in low paying jobs struggling to pay the bills and have any semblance of a happy life.

With their ten year high school reunion pending on the night before Thanksgiving, Zack agrees to accompany Miri but has little enthusiasm to see the same group of people he went to school with especially when he has so little to show for his post school life.

While things do not go as hoped for either Zack or Miri at the reunion, things get even worse when their water and power is turned off upon returning home forcing them to contend with a very cold and dark Thanksgiving.

In a fit of inspiration born out of desperation Zack decides to make a Porno as a way out of their financial issues. Zack contends that most of their fellow classmates will buy it out of curiosity and if they can sell 1000 copies, their problems will be over. Despite their platonic relationship, Miri agrees to make the film with Zack, and after getting financed by one of Zack’s co-workers with money meant for a plasma television, Zack and Miri begin the process of casting and creating their film.

Of course things do not go as planned and one series of hilarious events and disasters after another arise to hamper the budding filmmakers, and add even more pressure to their pending first time with one another.

With Deadlines pending, Zack and Miri must deal with the problems surrounding the film as well as their own long dormant denied attraction to one another the two life long friends must make choices that will have lifelong ramifications.

Writer and Director Kevin Smith has created a funny film that is both familiar to his previous works yet a more mature and emotional film. Yes there is plenty of outrageous humor and very frank and explicit diologe between the characters yet there is a maturity amongst the characters. As he showed in “Clerks II), the leads in “Zack and Miri” make a porno are dealing with bigger issues than trying to have sex, they are dealing with the fragile emotions that come with opening your heart and the fears of rejection that come with it. The theme of doing what you want to do rather than what is expected of you is also a constant theme here, and it is refreshing to see Smith once again tackle such issues without being preachy or heavy handed.

Supporting Rogen and Banks are Smith staples Jason Mewes and Jeff Anderson as well as solid supporting work from Justin Long who is utterly hilarious in every scene he is in.

While some fans may want more full out humor such as Smith gave in “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back”, Zack and Miri is more in tune with “Chasing Amy” as it focuses more on the relationship amongst the leads rather than wall to wall blunt humor.

No matter how many times I see Kevin Smith films, I am amazed at how well he captures the natural conversation between his characters. Yes, it is very raw but also very natural as it has a flow to it that embodies and defines the characters without ever overshadowing them. We all know of people who sit around having conversations as frank and outrageous as the characters in Smith’s films but never do the words seem forced or clichéd.

I am curious to see what future films Kevin Smith will craft as I find myself longing for the classic stable of Jersey characters like Jay and Silent Bob to return, yet understand the need he has to move forward and progress as a filmmaker.

“Zack and Miri” may not be the best work Smith has ever done, but it is very funny and deeply entertaining and shows a positive new direction for this talented director.

4 stars out of 5


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