The Thinker

Review: Zack and Miri Make a Porno

Are you easily offended? If so skip Zack and Miri Make a Porno, which is now playing at your local theater. There is so much over the top swearing in this movie that even sailors might legitimately take offense. Practically every other word is an expletive. And it’s not just the S word and the F words that are repeatedly uttered, but very clinical but crude sexual terms and phrases that populate sex magazines like Penthouse Forum Variations.

Then there is the subject of the movie itself, which is ostensibly about the filming of a really bad XXX pornographic movie. The nudity in this movie is not nearly as offensive as its language, although you do get some brief shots of full frontal male and female nudity, as well as a fair amount of screen time of buxom women with fake boobs going braless. Yeah, sensitive people like devout Mormons and Roman Catholics will definitely want to skip this flick.

Nor are any of the characters in this movie particularly likeable. However, almost all of the characters are memorable. The movie centers on two longtime platonic friends Zack Brown (Seth Rogan) and his fellow cohabiter Miriam Linky (Elizabeth Banks). Zack and Miri are pals whose relationship stretches back to childhood. They have spent so much of their lives being pals that the notion of them as lovers is inconceivable, even though both have oversized sex drives. Zack in particular obviously never came within a hundred miles of a charm school. He treats Miri like a frat brother even though she just happens to be blonde and drop dead gorgeous.

Neither is great with remembering to do financially responsible things like pay the rent on time. Yet somehow, they seem to struggle through mediocre lives at their near nadir. Zack makes his living as a cappuccino guy at a local strip mall in Monroeville, Pennsylvania. Starbucks it ain’t, because everyone in the shop including the owner spend most of their time cursing each other, even in front of their customers who seem bizarrely inured to their swearing. Zack and Miri share a wreck of a car and inhabit an unattractive brownstone apartment in an ugly part of Monroeville. Thanksgiving is approaching. For some reason Thanksgiving is also the date of their tenth anniversary high school reunion. Despite having had their water and electricity abruptly cut off, they both rush off to the reunion. Zack arrives and gets busy crudely propositioning former female classmates while Miri makes a beeline for her high school crush (played by Brandon Routh), who she shamelessly propositions before she discovers he happens to be a very successful gay porn star.

Doubtless, their encounter with Bobby inspired Zack’s idea to make a porno movie as a way to escape their financial condition. With little money, they are getting desperate and are reduced to making bonfires in their living room in an old trash bin to keep warm. Both agree that when they make the movie they will do a sex scene together, which is their contribution to the seamier aspect of this endeavor. They quickly put together a cast of dubious, troubled but generally hot looking people from the Pittsburgh area that have experience showing their privates on camera or in public. One of their cohorts is the real life ex porno actress Traci Lords (appearing here as “Bubbles”).

If you have an appreciation for crude humor like the kind you find in classic bawdy movies like Animal House or more recently, Borat, this patently offensive movie will be right up your alley. That is because this movie (aside from rising offense meters right through the roof) is also frequently hilarious. This movie is definitely not art, but it is damned funny. It is also unexpectedly touching at odd moments.

If there were annual Academy Awards for best performance of a crude, rude and socially unacceptable character, there would be plenty to choose from in this movie, with Seth Rogen’s portrayal of Zack being the likeliest pick. This is the sort of movie that you expect John Waters to have directed. Instead, it was written and directed by Kevin Smith, a mostly unknown artist who has done a variety of work acting, writing and directing movies and television over the years.

It is also, surprisingly enough, a romantic comedy. That’s right, it’s hard to discern at first among all the expletives but at its core this movie is really a quirky comedic romance. In reality both Zack and Miri do love each other, they just don’t know it and haven’t a clue how to move forward in their enduring but loveless relationship. Making a bad pornographic movie turns out to be an unlikely catalyst where they discover not kinky sex but something far more surprising: real love. Few couples deserve each other more than Zack and Miri.

In short, if you have the stomach for this kind of movie, you will not be disappointed. This is impossible to rate, but it is a fun though cheaply made movie with many hilarious and memorable characters. Certain scenes will have you laughing uproariously days later.

By the way, make sure you stick around until the credits end.

 

Leave a Reply

Switch to our mobile site