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The title of a film needs to somehow relate to the film itself. In fact, the title of the film does not need to mislead the audience into thinking something that doesn't, in fact, happen. "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" - guess what, Mr. Smith went to Washington. "Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle" - guess what, Harold & Kumar went to White Castle. No confusion there. So, when all the fuss was made about "Zack & Miri Make A Porno", I just assumed they would be making a porno in the film. They definitely shoot scenes for a porno. They definitely talk about making a porno. They hire actors for a porno and shoot those actors having sex for the porno. But the film ends and guess what - they didn't make a porno. Kevin Smith is one of those directors you either love or you hate. I have disliked most of his films, with "Dogma" serving as the screaming exception. I don't like a director who has to rely on fecal matter and vulgarity for all of his humor and that seems to be what Kevin Smith relies upon solely. He doesn't know how to make something naturally funny and he doesn't have the directorial savvy to let his actors roll with the material. "Zack & Miri Make A Porno" was bad. It wasn't just bad - it was ridiculous, and utterly, utterly forgettable.
The premise here is simple - Zack (Seth Rogen) and Miri (Elizabeth Banks) live together and are broke, broke, broke. First their water gets shut off, then their electricity. They decide that they're going to make a porno, sell it and make lots and lots of cash. They enlist their friend Delaney (Craig Robinson) to help and then audition a group of people for the various roles. Their actors include Jason Mewes as a man who can generate an erection immediately, Traci Lords as a woman who can fart and blow bubbles out of her vagina and Katie Morgan as Stacey, who is the only girl on the planet who seems to want to do anal. The group assemble and embark on "Star Whores", only to have their pornographic dreams shut down by a wrecking ball. After some inspirational thinking, they change their idea and start shooting in the local coffee shop, where Zack works, shooting on the company camcorder and using a hockey stick for a boom mic. Of course, Zack and Miri have to have sex and soon start to realize they have feelings for one another than transcend their usual friendship. Things happen, Zack leaves, Zack comes back, Zack and Miri get together.
What a horrible fucking disappointment. "Zack and Miri Make A Porno" pissed me off because it seems like it was ramshackled together with popsicle sticks and Elmer's Glue. Kevin Smith does not need to keep making movies if this is all he has up his sleeve. I can't think of a single thing he did right here. The closest scene to 'perfection' was when Zack and Miri have sex for the first time, though I don't know if I agree with the choice of a Live song to be playing in the background. And then - in the middle of his best sequence - he cuts over to the rest of the actors just standing there and watching, engaged in some benign conversation that has no relevance whatsoever. The man doesn't know a good thing when it's staring him in the face. The whole film takes these derails to allow supporting characters a chance to speak for a few seconds, as when a man stumbles into the coffee shop during filming and asks for a coffee. Instead of sending him away, they stop what they are doing, make him a coffee and give him a solid two minutes to talk about random bullshit that does nothing for the advancement of this picture. What was the purpose of that?
This film felt like Kevin Smith trying to emulate Judd Apatow. Guess what - Kevin Smith is not Judd Apatow. I don't care how hard he tries, his dialog just doesn't work as well. And I know what you're thinking - "Clerks", dude, "Clerks". Sure, that film had its moments and it was a seminal piece of 1990's cinema, but it was basically just Smith and his friends hanging out and having fun. He has gotten far too pretentious to do that anymore, evident by the atrocious "Clerks II". Even Seth Rogen isn't very funny here, doing the same thing he always does and not changing it up at all. The highlight of the film was the always entertaining Craig Robinson. He has been a favorite of mine since I first saw him in "The Office" and he's great here as the producer with the nagging wife and the affinity for titties. And Traci Lords was enjoyable in her role also, a nice comeback for her. But any appreciation for this film I might have had was eradicated when we learn that one of the female characters is constipated. As another character is having anal sex with her and another character lies on the ground beneath filming - the unthinkable happens. The man removes his penis from her ass and a gallon of fecal matters splatters onto the guy on the floor. Can anyone really justify this as entertainment? Why on Earth would someone put that in a feature film?
Now on to my being offended. Justin Long and Brandon Routh play two homosexual characters in the film. No biggie, right? Well, listen to Justin Long throw on his horrible fake-gay accent. He is a walking stereotype. Brandon Routh basically does the same thing, but at least he is gay and makes it look more natural. All these characters do is reference how much they love having butt sex with one another. There is no depth to either of them and they're not funny in the slightest. Is this what passes for humor in Kevin Smith's world? If so, he needs a new career path. The more I think about this film, the more I absolutely hate it. "Zack & Miri Make A Porno" might be the worst film of the year. It was definitely the most offensive to me and I don't get offended easily at the movies. There was no reason for this film to be made. And, at the end of the day, you want a film to live up to its title. Zack and Miri never make a porno. They make a disaster.
- added 11/08/2008, 11:54 PM
Perhaps its his FAR more subtle tack-on with
dialouge that I like about Kevin Smith, but I
found this movie funny. Not DAMNED funny, nor
hillairous, but funny enough to make me sit
through the cookie-cutter plot and wait for the
predictably shallow ending. Now, maybe it's the
fact that I'm not gay that made me laugh so hard
at Long's dialouge with Rogen, or maybe it was
just the build through their whole conversation.
Regardless, alot of the comedy is unpredicted and
unintllegent, now, beleive it or not, some people
actually DO laugh at that. For instance, the
second the words "Nigga Rich
Productions" popped up on the editing bay
screen I laughed, when the
"dutch-rudder" is explained by Mewes I
laughed, conversations mentioning black friday,
marriage, porno titles, and white supremacy made
me laugh... I think I laughed a majority of the
I'm not sure, Billy Ray, perhaps you
really aren't a fan of Smith's writing, perhaps
you went in with higher expectations, or perhaps
you were so ripped by Long and Routh towards the
begining that you ignored alot of the positive
qualities the film offered. Regardless, I'll just
say that most Smith fans will appreciate the
movie, hell, most will probablly like it more than
me, but I found it shallow, poorly assembled and,
for lack of a better word, messy, it still had me
laughing and that's all I wanted to do. 6.6/10
Oh, and yes, Craig Robinson is, qithout a
doubt, the funniest performance in the movie.
Hillarious from start to finish.
- added 11/09/2008, 12:25 AM
0/10? You're a fucking moron.
- added 11/09/2008, 12:31 AM
This movie was beyond awful. I don't think I
laughed once in the theater, and I felt really
dirty after. The dialogue was stupid, as were the
characters. I'd have to give this a 9/10 because I
pretty much laughed the whole time, and the
characters were actually interesting.
- added 11/09/2008, 01:18 PM
i actually kind of agree, oddly enough, with this
review. it wasn't as bad as he's making it out to
be, but it wasn't amazing. there are a few choice
lines - one of which comes in that cut to the
characters talking while zack and miri have sex.
"anyone catch the last episode of lost?"
it's not relevant because that's the joke. then
again bluemeanie wouldn't know comedy if it shat
on his chest. but that isn't the point - the point
is, seth rogen sucks. he sucks so bad. not only is
he a carbon copy of his one dimensional slacker
character in literally EVERY movie that he's in,
but he is one of the least funny people working
today. how can apatow get all these talented guys
- paul rudd, james franco, jason segel, bill hader
- and give every single job to seth rogen and
jonah hill, who are just variations on the same
annoying archetype? i love the double standard of
kevin smith having his friends come hang out on
his movies, but when apatow does it, it's somehow
artistic. fuck that. the reason the movie fails IS
because smith is riffing on the apatow formula,
but not because he fails to "understand"
it - it's because the formula sucks. you can tell
he's letting rogen adlib in a few scenes, and
they're terrible. everyone gets on kevin smith's
case because his dialogue is unnatural, but that's
the point. there's character and fluidity to it.
apatow's "everyman" dialogue is, first
of all, NOT how people actually talk, and
secondly, NOT FUNNY. if smith had stuck to his
guns, the movie would work, as proven by lines
like... well, everything craig robinson says.
let's hope this kickstarts the apatow/rogen
backlash and we can stop seeing shitty fucking
movies from this played out crew. PS: bluemeanie
is a fat twink.
- added 11/10/2008, 09:51 AM
Seems to be pretty divided. Believe me -- I
didn't want to hate this film as much as I did.
In hindsight, I probably should have given it 1/10
based solely on Craig Robinson's performance.
Alas, there was so much negative emotion. I will
change my score to 2/10 for Craig Robinson, but
his performance aside, this is the worst film of
- added 11/10/2008, 01:01 PM
Wouldn't know comedy if it shat on my chest. If a
fucking "Lost" joke in the middle of the
best scene of the film is what you consider
top-shelf comedy, you can keep it. P.S. Vash has
- added 11/10/2008, 10:22 PM
P.P.S. Tristan is having my baby.
- added 11/21/2008, 02:59 AM
i don't think a single person can argue that
robinson stole the show in this movie. far and
away its saving grace. even his "i make
coffees for people" line made me laugh. but
yeah, the rest... forgettable. worst film of the
year is a bit strong but it's definitely not
something i'd ever feel inclined to watch again.
seth rogen sucks. also, i like that bluemeanie's
retort came about four hours later :) glad to see
i got a fun retort instead of a serious one for
once. let the healing begin, handsome.
- added 07/11/2009, 07:59 PM
0/10? You're a fucking moron.
- added 07/11/2009, 08:53 PM
I guess my previous comment didn't really sum up
how I felt about this movie, aside from calling
Meanie a moron for giving it a 0. I'd have to say
this is one of Smith's funniest movies. I've been
a die hard Kevin Smith fan since I saw Clerks for
the first time, and I've been a Seth Rogen fan
since I saw him all those years ago in Freaks and
Geeks. Two of my favourite people coming together
and making a movie. What more could I ask for?
- added 07/14/2010, 02:22 PM
You argue that they didn't make a porno, but they
filmed each other fucking, that sounds like porn
to me. I thought this movie had many laughs and
message behind it that if you go anal on a woman
that is constipated you won't like the outcome.
- added 07/04/2013, 03:18 AM
In other news, I loved it.