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DVD Review: Zack and Miri Make a Porno

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What happens when the eternal teenager grows up?  Kevin Smith burst onto the scene in the mid-90s with “Clerks,” a movie filled with no dirty pictures, but wall-to-wall filth.  Smith continued the trend with “Mallrats,” “Chasing Amy,” and then, lesser fare.  “Zack and Miri Make a Porno,” is Smith’s second movie that takes place without his usual Jay and Silent Bob characters.

The plot is simple.  Two roommates and platonic friends, Zack and Miri, find themselves hard up for money.  A high school reunion is looming and they’re getting their power and water cut off due to unpaid bills.  With their backs up against the wall, the two decide to make a porno.  They enlist a motley crew of people to co-star and crew their project.  And throughout the process, Zack and Miri find that, perhaps, they are more than just friends.

The story is typical Smith.  It’s incredibly raunchy in both concept and language, but, underneath it all, it’s a movie with a heart.  Smith also makes sure to fill the movie with pop culture references, with Star Wars, Star Trek and Britney Spears.

The cast is excellent.  Seth Rogen is his usual self, playing a version of the same guy he played in “Knocked Up,” “Pineapple Express,” and “Superbad.”  Elizabeth Banks is the stand out for me.  She is very amusing.  Craig Robinson, (best known for playing Daryl on “The Office,”) is also excellent, however, underused.  (Why won’t anybody give him his own movie?  This guy is hysterical.)

I should say that I like Kevin Smith.  I even liked “Jersey Girl.”  No, seriously, I did.  However, “Zack and Miri,” kinda left me indifferent.  It wasn’t boring.  It didn’t drag.  However, it was kinda forgettable.  The jokes are funny, but nothing that is laugh-out-loud funny.  Knowing Smith’s MO from past movies, I was just waiting for things to get touchy-feely and for a pop song to swell on the soundtrack as the characters tell each other how they really feel.

I didn’t hate “Zack and Miri.”  In fact, it’s a perfect DVD release.  Nothing to yell about, but worth checking out.  Just don’t expect to “Clerks III” when you pop in the disc.  It’s fun, but not great.  -Sam

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