DVD/Blu-ray Reviews

Zack and Miri Make a Porno



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</script></div>{/googleAds}With both filmmakers having cut their teeth on this brash brand of in-your-face filmmaking, it was only a matter of time before Kevin Smith met up with Seth Rogen. Not surprisingly, it was the bawdy comedy, The 40-Year Old Virgin that served as the impetus for Smith to write the lead character of Zack and Miri Make a Porno specifically for Rogen. With Rogen and his not-afraid-to-self-deprecate act bringing life to Smith's, mile-a-minute, foul-mouthed, everyday-man's dialogue, the two are kind of like a comedic dream-team getting together to battle any and all challengers. And both realized the importance of bending from their traditional methods Rogen pulling back a bit on the ad-lib reigns and Smith allowing some leeway with his written words. Together the two have created a romantic comedy that's both as sweet and as obscene as anything you'll see this year.

Zack (Seth Rogen) and Miri (Elizabeth Banks) have been best friends since grade school who're now living together as platonic roommates. Both are on a slow burn to "nowheresville", just floating through life with no real ambitions and not enough motivational drive to fill a thimble. Their coffee shop jobs barely pay enough to feed their Amazon.com Wish List habit, much less leave anything to pay the bills. So, when faced with mounting debt and loss of power to their filthy apartment, Miri desperately proclaims "these are the exact circumstances people find themselves in right before they start having sex for money." Queue light bulb over Zack's head. He convinces Miri that they could make a homemade porno film to raise some quick cash. Miri's not completely sold on the idea however as she wonders why, if it were so easy to do, everyone isn't doing it. Having an answer for everything, Zack tells her that others don't choose this route because "they have options and dignity.

Zack and Miri Make a PornoMaking money from a homemade porno film is really an awful idea and mostly unbelievable in today's world where the Internet practically guarantees that porn is never more than two clicks away. But it surely provides a rich playground for Smith's brand of humor. Throw in a couple of real-life porn stars and an R-rating that had to go through the MPAA appeals process three times (without changing a single scene) to avoid the dreaded NC-17, and you've got a film as tastelessly funny as anything the Apatow juggernaut might put out. Now if we could just get Smith and Apatow to partner on a film. What might that look like?

But despite the fact that the film is filled with enough lewd and lascivious activity to make a prostitute blush, it actually has a quite charming story with a big heart and a sweet message at its center. Though Rogen and Banks might seem like polar opposites on the attraction scale, the two are quite convincing as a couple and even manage to make genuine sparks in their love scene. The film unfolds its message when the time comes for Zack and Miri to film their "big" scene together. As they make love, Smith's camera focuses on their faces rather than on body parts. It's about human feelings rather than carnal pleasures. Zack and Miri finally come to the realization that they love each other.

Besides Rogen and Banks, Smith has baked into the film his usual cast of misfits and quirky characters, including the dunderheaded D-list porn actor Lester (played by his longtime Jay and Silent Bob collaborator, Jason Mewes), coffee shop co-worker Delaney (Craig Robinson nearly steals show) as the porn film's producer picked as producer simply because he had enough money to buy a video camera, and a various assortment of former porn stars-turned-mainstream-actors who play porn stars (confusing, I know). However, the genius in Smith's filmmaking skills comes in his ability to make the characters loveable and sympathetic despite their long list of despicable traits and repugnant behavior. Smith's dialogue is written as real people speak, not as how actors have always spoken in film. And that goes a long way towards endearing an audience to the characters. Tarantino is another master of this, and as a result, we could spend an entire film just listening to a Smith or Tarantino character talk.

Zack and Miri Make a Porno will never be called tasteful or subdued, but like many of the other films in this raunch-com genre, largely popularized by Judd Apatow (though Smith really started it with 1994's Clerks), it's also a sweet romance sure to burrow itself into the heart of even the most bluenosed of prudes.


DVD

DVD Details:

Screen Formats: 1.78:1 Anamorphic

Subtitles: Spanish, English

Language and Sound: Closed Captioned; English: Dolby True HD; English: Dolby Digital 5.1; French: Dolby Digital 5.1

Other Features: Color; interactive menus; scene access; making-of featurette; deleted scenes.

Supplements:

* Featurettes
o Popcorn Porn: The making of Zack and Miri
o Money shots webisodes
o Comic-con 2008
o Seth Vs. Justin: Battle for improvisational supremacy
* Deleted Scenes: Outtakes, Ad-libs and bloopers

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