Wouldn't your first thought in such a desperate financial situation be to make a porn movie for You Tube?

Zack and Miri Make a Porno

An Illusion Review by Joan Ellis

            The simplest thing to say about “Zack and Miri Make a Porno” is that to like the movie, you must be a fan of baseline sophomoric sex humor. But be reminded that there is nothing simple about writer/director/editor Kevin Smith. This is the once very young man who captured the lazy lingo of contemporary slackers in his first movie “Clerks.” After total immersion in that famous convenience store, we knew he was playing with a new language, one where his characters mumble their thoughts as if there were no filter between their minds and their mouths. He was a pioneer in the study of the conversational rhythms of young video addicts. 

            Remember also that a Kevin Smith movie, this one especially, travels through the gutter of four letter irreverence. There is another thing about this filmmaker: he is not mean. In Zack and Miri he puts into words every gross juvenile sex image the mind can conjure and then stirs into the mix a sweet, unorthodox concern for his characters. In Smith’s movies, neither people nor feelings get hurt. Underneath all the verbal smut lies the heart of an appealing cornball who wants people to be happy.

            Zack (Seth Rogen) and Miri (Elizabeth Banks) are two of life’s losers. Living together in platonic poverty, they are down to their last dime. Wouldn’t your first thought in such a desperate financial situation be to make a porn movie for You Tube? Zack and Miri hold auditions for the movie, settling finally on a comical group of eccentrics for on-camera sex. Unlike other sports that lure the human body into grace, sex isn’t an especially graceful spectator sport which is probably the main reason most people explore it in private and not on a movie screen.

            After we have been assaulted with a flood of four letter words and images, we realize the porno film crew, true to Smith form, is a group of nice guys and girls just looking to make a buck and to enjoy the company of their new friends. The bottom line of this raunchy comedy is that it is a love story. Zack and Miri take a while to recognize this though we knew it from the beginning. 

            I have tried to figure out why Kevin Smith is so wedded to the combination of raunch and love. But here’s the thing: he’s a dialogue man. Raunch and love and slackerdom are just the scaffolds for his deeply embedded need to run off at the mouth. He is a very funny man – go ahead, try not to laugh out loud at least five times in this movie. The conversational rhythms he discovered years ago have become the communication mode of the new century where people who communicate by text and cell barely breathe between sentences. I picture him bent over his computer in the dim hours pounding out the dialogue he loves. And then I laugh - again.


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