"Zack and Miri Make a Porno" goes roughly the direction you'd expect it to go. Zack and Miri make a porno, for example. Then the two late-20s roommates, played by the supernaturally easygoing Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks, discover that having sex on camera in order to pay the rent will change the temperature of whatever room they're in together. Permanently.
The film, the latest from writer-director Kevin Smith, pushes its R rating pretty hard, though as with most
Smith characters this side of Silent Bob, there's a lot more raunch in the talk -- the sheer, voluminous, often
hilarious verbosity -- than in the action.
Smith will, unfortunately, be going to hell for the inclusion of one outlandishly grotesque sight gag, one the movie (any movie) would've been better off without.
Then again, the filmmaker's entire career has mined the fun, the possibilities and the risks of going too far. His is an arrested-adolescent sensibility, like that of many who have come along in his wake, notably Judd Apatow and his various guy-centric associates. But Smith can write, and despite his subject and the free-floating, genial skeeziness, "Zack and Miri" has a bright, chipper look to it, thanks to cinematographer Dave Klein, a frequent Smith colleague. Wintertime in Pittsburgh never looked so good.
When Smith wrote the script with Rogen in mind, Rogen wasn't yet a movie star. Now, coming off "Knocked Up," "Superbad" and "Pineapple Express," the actor is courting overexposure. Yet I don't get some folks' weariness or resistance regarding Rogen. Like Michael Cera, he's a master of making it look easy. It takes skill to come off as though you're making it up as you go. Example: At one point In "Zack and Miri," the longtime pals attend their 10-year high school reunion, where Zack runs into an old classmate (rumble-voiced Justin Long). Within a minute or so, Zack learns that his old schoolmate is making a fine living in adult entertainments featuring all-male casts. "What, you mean like 'Glengarry Glen Ross'?" Rogen asks. The way he handles the two seconds prior to his next line is so deft, you think, well, timing. You can teach a performer a lot, but the correct pause before a deadpan rejoinder is not one of them.
Banks is currently on screens as Laura Bush in "W.," and while she makes full dramatic sense in that context, she's on top of her game here. Her slightly generic good looks are made interesting by her refusal to coast on them, and while I wouldn't call the role of cheery, foul-mouthed Miri nuanced, Banks and Rogen click in a way that Rogen and Katherine Heigl in "Knocked Up" did not.
Why do Zack and Miri make the porno? They need the money, and the recent economic belly flop makes that seem like a plenty viable reason. They shoot their hard-core version of "Star Wars" at the Starbucksian coffee shop where Zack works with his colleague Delaney, played by Craig Robinson. Their makeshift porno cast is a mixture of game amateurs and low-budget professionals, one of whom is played by Traci Lords (whose authenticity doesn't really add to the fun). Jason Mewes, a Smith alum from way back, plays Lester, and his nude scene in "Zack and Miri" arrives very late in a slightly attenuated comedy. Between this and "Forgetting Sarah Marshall," I wonder: What is it about seeing someone's junk in the final minute or so of a movie that seems ill-considered, somehow? I'll try to get back to you on that one.
MPAA rating: R (for strong crude sexual content including dialogue, graphic nudity and pervasive language).
Running time: 1:41.
Starring: Seth Rogen (Zack); Elizabeth Banks (Miri); Traci Lords (Bubbles); Jason Mewes (Lester); Ricky Mabe (Barry); Craig Robinson (Delaney); Katie Morgan (Stacey); Jeff Anderson (Deacon).
Written, edited and directed by Kevin Smith; photographed by Dave Klein; music by James L. Venable; production designed by Robert Holtzman; produced by Scott Mosier. A Weinstein Company release.
Zack & Miri Make A Porno Movie Trailer
About the Movie "Zack & Miri Make A Porno"
Lifelong friends and roommates Zack (Seth Rogen) and Miri (Elizabeth Banks) are facing hard times and a mountain of debt. When the electricity and plumbing get cut off, they seize upon the idea of making a homegrown porno movie for some quick cash, enlisting the help of their friends. The two vow that having sex will not ruin their friendship. But as filming begins, what started out as a business proposition between friends turns into something much more.
About the Cast "Zack & Miri Make A Porno"
SETH ROGEN (Zack)
SETH ROGEN (Zack) is today's hottest new comedic actor/writer. After the wild success of last year's comedic hits, KNOCKED UP and SUPERBAD, Rogen, is a genius at the art of bringing taboo sex themes to the surface in his movies. With skill and wit as timely as the Wilson brothers and an oddly sympathetic style similar to that of Ben Stiller, Rogen has accomplished more in his 26 years than many actors do in a lifetime. The Vancouver native honed his skills by starring in character roles in ANCHORMAN: THE LEGEND OF RON BURGUNDY, THE 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN and the TV series FREAKS AND GEEKS. Prior to that, he was nominated for a Primetime Emmy for his work on DA ALI G SHOW in 2005. He co-wrote PINEAPPLE EXPRESS with his writing partner, fellow Canadian Evan Goldberg. They also wrote SUPERBAD together. He is starring opposite Adam Sandler in Judd Apatow's FUNNY PEOPLE, set for release in Summer 2009.
ELIZABETH BANKS (Miri Linky)
ELIZABETH BANKS (Miri Linky) is one most versatile actresses of her generation. Easily moving between comedy and drama, Banks diverse credits include WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER, SEABISCUIT, HEIGHTS, 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN, INVINCIBLE, all three SPIDERMAN films as well as a recurring role as Dr. Kim Porter on NBC's SCRUBS. She is having a particularly prolific year, having appeared in DEFINITELY, MAYBE and MEET DAVE and next stars as Laura Bush in Oliver Stone's Bush biopic W, opposite Josh Brolin. She then stars in the thriller THE UNINVITED which is scheduled for release on January 30, 2009.
TRACI LORDS (Bubbles)
TRACI LORDS (Bubbles) has quite the story, having filmed over 80 nude films as a teenager, getting arrested, and pioneering through a rocky past that will always remain in Hollywood's vault of deception, seduction and manipulation. Now a singer/actress and mother, famed redhead is trying to break through as a mainstream actress, with guest roles on GILMORE GIRLS, WILL & GRACE and a critically acclaimed performance in 1995's MELROSE PLACE.
JASON MEWES (Lester)
JASON MEWES (Lester) is best known as social misfit/drug dealer Jay, of "Jay and Silent Bob" in CLERKS, which hit theaters in 1994, and instantly become a hit, putting director Smith on the map as well. Everyone loved Jay because even though he talks the big game about sex, he never gets it. Four movies followed, including MALLRATS, CHASING AMY, DOGMA, JAY AND SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK and CLERKS II. The 33-year-old Highlands, NJ native is slated to appear in several new film projects including THE GREEN HORNET.
RICKY MABE (Barry)
RICKY MABE (Barry) is the newest teen heartthrob that girl fans have been pasting into their High School lockers. The 24-year-old Canadian born actor made his acting debut at the age of 12 in the movie, FRANKENSTEIN AND ME, alongside Burt Reynolds. He eventually landed roles in NIGHTMARE MAN, PHANTOM OF THE MEGAPLEX, BELIEVE, TRAILER PARK OF TERROR and STICKS & STONES WILL BREAK MY HEART. He also starred as Gideon on the TV series, BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE, in the mini-series KILLER WAVE and in six episodes of LASSIE.
CRAIG ROBINSON (Delaney)
CRAIG ROBINSON (Delaney) is an actor/stand-up comedian, who is best known for playing Darryl Philbin on THE OFFICE. He played a club doorman in KNOCKED UP, Bobby Shad in WALK HARD: THE DEWEY COX STORY, and a bouncer in a music video for the Red Hot Chili Peppers song, "Hump de Bump," in which he denies Chris Rock entry to the club. He has had character stints on ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT, CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM, THE BERNIE MAC SHOW and FRIENDS. He was recently seen as Matheson in PINEAPPLE EXPRESS, which Seth Rogen wrote and co-stars in.
KATIE MORGAN (Stacey)
KATIE MORGAN (Stacey) is best known for her HBO late night specials, called PORN 101. The adult film star has done some TV work and movies acting, in flicks like SUNSET, BOBBY DAZZLER, PRISONERS and SKYWALKERS, all of which went straight to DVD. This is her first actual, official, mainstream movie. The Smith team contacted her through her website and asked her if she wanted to be in the movie. "I happened to be in L.A., and the stars aligned and that's how it goes I guess," says the 28-year-old LA native, who has starred in over 200 adult films. Morgan has shot for all the major adult studios, including Club Jenna, Hustler, Penthouse and Playboy.
Angelina Jolie stars as Christine Collins in the provocative drama from director Clint Eastwood, Zack & Miri Make A Porno. Based on the actual incident that rocked California's legal system, the film tells the shocking tale of a mother's quest to find her son, and those who won't stop until they silence her.
Zack & Miri Make A Porno Movie Review Film Critic Michael Phillips Tasha Robinson Robert Abele Reviews Zack & Miri Make A Porno Zack & Miri Make A Porno Starring Seth Rogen, Elizabeth Banks, Traci Lords, Jason Mewes, Ricky Mabe, Craig Robinson, Katie Morgan, Jeff Anderson
Zack & Miri Make A Porno Movie Review, Movie Trailer, Movie Production Notes, Synopsis, About the Movie, About the Cast