Review: Zack and Miri

Okay…so I watched Kevin Smith’s last effort, “Zack and Miri Make a Porno.” All I’ve heard from the Smith camp is a lot of pissing and moaning that the movie didn’t get the kind of positive attention it deserved because of the title alone. And maybe some of that’s true. I also heard Kev and the gang saying that the movie isn’t as dirty as people think it is…and that’s NOT true.


I’m no prude, as most of you know…but this is a dirty movie. There are only a handful of people I would EVER sit in the same room with and watch it. There’s a lot of nudity. It’s pretty graphic. It’s vulgar. It’s the raunchiest thing Smith’s ever released (though, I must say, not at all arousing). I’m astounded that it was only an “R” rating. Some of it’s just gross, in fact. It’s important that I say all that.


…but I liked it. I started out not liking it (slow start) then wound up REALLY liking it (once they get to the high-school reunion) then ended up thinking it went a little too far (once they started shooting the actual porno).


Smith’s strong-suit has always been that he can pull off being really dirty but also have heart. He does that in this one, too… Rogan and Banks pull off being really sweet together, even as they’re supposed to be…uhh…there’s just no classy way to say “doin’ it hardcore on a bag of coffee beans,” is there? (You kind of have to see it…but don’t see it…but you might want to see it…but I’m not going to advise seeing it…but you might want to…)


I seem to be stuck in a loop…


The porn-filming scenes were funny, but I’m a little shocked and just shy of offended that this wasn’t a NC-17 as a result of that and some of the dialogue, which goes even farther than Clerks. This goes pretty far, and I wasn’t expecting that, even from Smith. On that level, I don’t recommend it…but nevertheless…it’s funny. It’s absolutely WRONG…but it’s funny. And on a weird level, there’s heart in the relationship between the Zack and Miri characters…but it’s dirty. Very very dirty. So dirty, I actually think I respect Smith a little less…but it’s funny.


The point is, I think Smith could’ve made his same point and been just as funny with less outright nudity and graphic stuff, and just kept to the dialogue. He’s always written dirty words and found ways to make them funny…but the visual stuff just seemed amateurish and unnecessary. I think, honestly, he could’ve made the same movie as a (weighty) PG-13…or at least no more r-rated than Mallrats. But he went the “here’s a bunch of naked” route, which is always cheap and tawdry. (Yeah…I know…there was a long scene with a topless chick in Mallrats…but I always felt like the studio had him do that because they thought they had the next “Porky’s” on their hands.)


They put one of my favorite Pixies songs (“Hey”) in there at one point, and discussed “Lost” briefly, too. The Pixies tune was really effectively used and actually expressed a lot of what I’ve always thought the song was about…so that was cool. The “Lost” discussion was funny, too.


…here are some assorted other thoughts:

  • I don’t know his name, so pardon the generalization…but the black guy kind of makes the movie in a lot of ways.
  • I weirdly like the chemistry between Seth Rogan and the girl who I’ve discovered is an actual pornstar called Katie Morgan. They work well together. As a film-viewer, I dug that…as a guy who’s not really into porn…that was weird.
  • Jeff Anderson’s really good in it.
  • I laughed really hard at the scene where Rogan’s shouting at everyone in the coffee shop while serving a customer. That was genius.


So all in all…not terrible, but I don’t think that most people will like it and I don’t actually recommend it, even though I enjoyed it kinda.


…but I could’ve done with seeing less of Jason Mewes. And I don’t mean as an actor…I mean he was alarmingly naked in this one.

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