ZACK AND MIRI MAKE A PORNO (2008)

zack-and-mira

Written, Edited & Directed By: Kevin Smith
Cinematography By: David Klein 

Cast: Seth Rogen, Elizabeth Banks, Craig Robinson, Jason Mewes, Traci Lords, Katie Morgan, Jeff Anderson, Tisha Campbell-Martin, Justin Long, Brandon Routh, Kenny Hotz, Tom Savini, Gerry Bednob, Jim Norton, Lauren Miller, Tyler Labine

Lifelong platonic friends Zack and Miri look to solve their respective cash-flow problems by making an adult film together. As the cameras roll, however, the duo begin to sense that they may have more feelings for each other than they previously thought.

Though exclusively a Kevin smith film that matches his interest and sensabilities it is also one that seems to be his honest attempt to make a more Hollywood mainstream comedy while keeping it in his ballpark.

Now i am an unapologetic Kevin Smith fan as i find his early films and some of his current films inspirational, Maybe more then the quality of the films might be. I applaud the fact he keep making his films and seems to have regained the passion after a considerable uncertain period.

It is something that is noticeable about his films. Though he has stuck to his guns and kept his films independent. There seems to be a desire to aim at the fences and make more Hollywood cinema. Though keeping enough of his own sensibilities to have his fingerprints on it. This seems to be one of those films and from his films now it seems more like he has a passion to make what he wants to see rather than trying to make other happy or attempt to make films to please whoever critics, studios, certain audiences. As now he knows he has a certain following so he feels free to stick to his guns and know he will still have an audience.

This film is a film that grows on you through multiple viewings as when I first saw the film it was a major disappointment for me from Kevin smith. Now I can easily rewatch it and still be entertained

I applaud him for going outside of his cinematic universe of characters the he usually falls back on. Even though these new sets of characters seem like the familiar types when it comes to his cinema. New characters but still casting familiar faces . Which is one of the problems there are familiar faces but not from his own movies more from Judd Apatow’s roster Seth Rogen, Elizabeth Banks, Craig Robinson even Gerry Bednob, I almost expected Paul Rudd or Jonah hill to show up out of nowhere in some scenes.

Now I understand that Judd Apatow and Kevin Smith use almost the same approach to comedy. Awkwardness and crude juvenile humor that has a sweet side to it. Usually with nice but normal average guys as the lead. Though Judd apatow seems to like to add some philosophy and tends to go on a bit too long. Though he seems to be more successful at it and making it more mainstream. This film Is more of the same. Strangely this film seems more unfocused. As it plays like a bunch of ideas and skits leading is through and staying true to the title and here the films central idea.

There is plenty of nastiness in the film for no reason. It has no target there is a romantic comedy in here which you can tell from the opening minutes. It just seems it needed something to surround it and the porno idea was good marketing and window dressing. It also allows Mr. Smith to satirize his experience making his first film. An ultra low budget film filmed where he was employed.

The cast is good and it’s nice to see Jason Mewes again finally playing someone other the jay for a change.

Ex-Adult film star Katie Morgan is so cute and sweet. She seems like a natural comedian. I wished she were the star of this movie or that someone would write a romantic comedy for her to star in. Preferably not a porn one, but if that’s what they come up with o.k. Just as one of the films they are trying to come up with a film to spoof as a porno. One that is mentioned is STAR TREK, Ms. Morgan has starred in a porn spook of Star Trek that went with the title SEX TREK: WHERE NO MAN HAS CUM B4.

Kevin Smith originally wrote the film to be set in Minnesota, where he had shot MALLRATS prior, and had stated a desire to shoot there again. However, for budgetary reasons, Smith opted to shoot in Pittsburgh, where he had shot DOGMA, and re-wrote the script to take place in Monroeville, Pennsylvania.

Elizabeth banks is good in the role of Miri, but I just found it unbelievable that someone like her with her beauty would find herself in such situations and these circumstances hanging out with a guy like Zach, but that is not the actresses fault. It is nice to see her work her way up to a lead role rather than the throwaway roles of wife and girlfriend roles. She seemed doomed to play.

The role of Miri was originally written for Rosario Dawson. However, due to prior commitments with the Steven Spielberg produced EAGLE EYE, she had to decline.

In the movie Zack and Miri are supposed to be the same age but in real life Elizabeth Banks is almost ten years older than Seth Rogen. At the time of shooting, Seth Rogen was three years from his high school reunion, while Elizabeth Banks would have had hers six years prior.

The problems here are in one scene I didn’t believe the characters sudden generosity, plus the third act needed a lot of work. As Zack just leaves never taking to Miri to be a sideshow geek to a degree. Which apparently pays better money and in all that time no one told him Miri couldn’t do the scene and he waits all that time to admit. He didn’t sleep with Katie, It just seems so outlandish.

I know he was the director, but they couldn’t finish the porn without him and Miri. No matter how much time and money was spent on it. Come on they could have just used the scenes an set up a site. Plus what the hell does Jason Mewes character do for a living that he can move in with Miri and all the bills are suddenly paid sure these are nitpicks, but it needs to be a little better structured.

Near the end of the film there is a scene where Traci Lords is seen on a rotating bed, spanking two of her co-stars with a riding crop. This is a parody of the final scene in the film that was at the center of Traci’s notoriety in the ’80s: New Wave Hookers.

I liked the characters and the camaraderie. This wasn’t a straight loss, but disappointing for the degree I usually hold Kevin smith films in. At least he gave Brandon Routh more lines and more of an opportunity to act then he did in SUPERMAN LIVES.

This feels like the film he should have made after CLERKS. It feels like a high concept comedy that Could be personal. A portion of the plot is based on director Kevin Smith ‘s experience making CLERKS: a very low budget, working only with friends, using a hockey stick as a boom microphone pole, and shooting the movie at his job (the Quick Stop/RST Video in CLERKS, and the Bean ‘N’ Gone coffee shop in this film).

It also feels like a missed opportunity as he seems to be predicting how everyone is making films with camera and phones that you can now practically make features with. If made now it might have a more current impact as well as being able to satirize it and maybe even those Kickstarter and indie Go-go campaigns. Though that is all would have, should have, could have.

Grade: C+

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