Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Zach and Miri Make a Porno (2008)

Written and Directed by Kevin Smith

  The title pretty much says it all as far as summaries go. Of course, the finer details needing to know are that Zach and Miri have known each other the past 20 years and experienced much turmoil with the other. Their latest obstacle coming in the form of unsure whether they’d be able to pay their rent as their water had just been turned off; outlook not entirely promising. Though Zach rises to the occasion and decides with no one around to disappoint, anymore, what would be the big deal? (As far as turning to Porn) Though feelings surface that eventually disrupt their plans and the two end up going their separate ways. Brought back together after a grueling 3 months of separation.

The idea for the film had been swimming around Smith’s head since ’96. Or rather, the idea to use some sort of Porn subplot. After seeing The 40 Year Old Virgin, more so, Seth Rogen’s character, he decided to write him a lead role. The only problem was that he waited too long as Superbad, Pineapple Express and Knocked Up were soon after released. Though emails were exchanged and Rogen requested at least a month off to recoup, stating to want nothing more than to work with the Writer/Director as he had been a fan. Finding Miri didn’t prove too difficult after signing Rogen as he initially put Elizabeth Banks on a short list of Actresses after working with her previously. Though I was a bit shocked to find Banks 8 years Rogen’s senior because she looks damn good, and that at least had to be mentioned.

Problems arose with the MPAA, though that shouldn’t be too surprising; there’s always someone whose gotta rain on the parade. All of this despite the test screening that showed 86% who found it excellent and 73% that would recommend the film, as is. The major issues being “too much thrusting” as well as…you know, that one scene. (I think it’s best kept as a surprise for those who haven’t seen it) Though after stating he had done all he could, he appealed the ruling and in the end it was overturned. Though only 4% of people even bother to even go through the process, less than 1% ever see their movie overturned. Which must make Smith some sort of expert at arguing, having been his third time doing such. Though I’d say using Jackass as an “excuse” to call BS would work every time. Touché, Smith.

The Good: If you recognized Jeff Anderson or Jason Mewes then you’ll automatically think of Smith, though it seemed more fitting attune the Apatow cast. So it was a good thing they were plenty. Though the familiarity of outcasts getting their say is prevalent for both directors, Smith also dares to take a film where most wouldn’t go. He creates these realistic possibilities and gives the audience characters that instantly become infectious while keeping (most of) the film dialogue/humor based. He had a great supporting cast with cameos from Tom Savini, Traci Lords, Katie Morgan and Tyler Labine that were nice additions. Believe it or not, this film is a romantic comedy and at times lost me with that simply because it didn’t feel that way too often throughout. Though Banks was a great choice even though her thunder did seem to get stolen once the entire cast set in. But no one else could have captured the “Nickelodeon Chic” look better than she did while capturing your heart at the same time. Craig Robinson had a lot of the best interactions between the other Actors in the film. His boss, Mr. Surya (Gerry Bednob) had a great bit about Black Friday, they talk back to their customers who “rudely” approach and combated alongside Lester (Jason Mewes) through the second half of the film. Even though Anderson didn’t have a lot of dialogue, I enjoyed watching him as the goalie before they recruited him and then of course, those awful 14 frames they put him through.

The Bad: The first thing that bothered me was actually an editing problem that happened at the 10 year reunion. When Zach speaks with Justin Long’s character, the camera reveals people dancing behind him (Seth), but their position constantly switches with each shot. Silly right, but something I can’t help but notice each time I view the film. As far as trimming down certain scenes, the strip club could have probably been without as much…vulva, I suppose. Getting Porn stars to play the roles made much more sense and while I would normally grumble at the fact of seeing too much T and A, it’s usually due to it being such a one-sided notion. Which we don’t have to worry about in the View Askewniverse as his best friend Mewes, loves to show off his (viddy) nice body. So it’s fair. And while I’ve enjoyed Tisha Campbell-Martin in various projects through her career, her scenes could have just the same stayed on the cutting room floor. There’s also a moment after Zach and Miri film their sex scene when Stacey (Morgan) asks for “permission” to sleep with Zach. But the moment when he walks her to the bedroom felt like it dragged a bit and probably could have been tightened. They also had something in the special features that was a “Part 1” with no other part…porque? The webisodes also seemed hit or miss but perhaps because they’re were so many of them, though the other features make it worth the edition.

The Verdict: I can think of no higher compliment to Smith than to state his latest films have been almost unrecognizable as his work. It only means he’s growing and progressing as a Director. I also speak as a fan but good work is always just that. It kept me laughing from the opening moment when the car crashes until hearing the “Dutch Rudder” explained via Mewes. Though the entire cast and cameos were great, it was Jason and Justin Long that I believe ended up stealing the show. His bit at the reunion was the funniest thing in the film. And Mewes had a sincerity in his delivery that made for some of the best lines in the film. If anybody had to made a romantic comedy that involved incorporating a porno, I’m glad it got to be Kevin and that he made it his own, despite the MPAA’s efforts.