Silver Chips Online

So funny, it's bordering indecency

"Zack and Miri" succeeds despite plotless story

By Anika Manzoor, Online Managing Editor
November 5, 2008
The Halloween release date for "Zack and Miri Make a Porno" was quite an appropriate one; it takes one tough cookie not to be frightened by the prospect of Seth Rogen in an adult film. All jokes aside, "Zack and Miri" doesn't quite match up to the comedic geniuses of Rogen and director Kevin Smith's previous films, but nevertheless bursts with hysterical antics and great interaction between characters.

(released December 31, 1969)
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Zack (Rogen) and Miri (Elizabeth Banks), platonic buddies since the first grade, are on the verge of being kicked out of their dingy apartment. When their electricity and water are shut off, Zack and Miri have no option but to resort to drastic measures. With the help of Zack's friend and coworker Delaney (Craig Robinson) and a select group of "skilled" individuals, the duo buries any remaining ounces of dignity to make a pornographic film. Not wanting to jeopardize their friendship, Zack and Miri promise each other that things won't change between them after they have done the deed, a promise the two find hard to keep when things start heating up on- and off-screen.

This movie would have tanked if it wasn't so hilarious. Smith's intent of completely shocking the audience into laughter is as transparent as a sheer prophylactic and we've all seen this type of comedy before: Rogen pretty much patented the role of the blunt and unlikely hero, Robinson has forever been doing his sensitive-yet-indignant black man shpeal and Jason Mewes is just...well...Jason Mewes. But even though we've already met these characters, they never get old. In fact, with each movie and each opportunity to perfect their roles, they just keep getting better.

The movie is mainly saved by the perfect casting. Each and every character had impressive comedic timing and worked wonderfully well with one another. In particular, Justin Long and Brandon Routh made an enjoyable cameo at Zack and Miri's high school reunion as a quarreling gay couple. Mewes, Smith's main man, fell into a surprisingly easy step with Rogen and Robinson, formidable forces with the Judd Apatow crew. The best thing about the movie, however, is the warm and pleasant chemistry between Rogen and Banks. Who knew the idea of making pornography could be so sweet and romantic?

"Zack and Miri's" biggest letdown is its lack of story. Essentially, the flick is just a jumble of hysterical situations during Zack and Miri's production of said porno and by the time any sort of climactic (no pun intended) action takes place, the viewers are slightly bored with the "outrageous" premise. It almost seems as if Smith devoted most of his energy to being as offensive as possible while still making an R-rating before quickly slapping together a plot and calling it a movie.

Despite the lackluster plot and been-there, done-those characterizations, the comedic value of this film is far too good to pass up. Skeptics should probably wait for the DVD release but fans of such comedies should go out and get their jollies with "Zack and Miri."

"Zack and Miri Make a Porno" (101 minutes) is rated R on appeal for strong crude sexual content including dialogue, graphic nudity and pervasive language. It is now playing in area theaters.

http://silverchips.mbhs.edu/story/8658