DIRECTED BY KEVIN SMITH
STARRING: SETH ROGEN, ELIZABETH BANKS, CRAIG ROBINSON, JASON MEWES, TRACI LORDS, JEFF ANDERSON, KATIE MORGAN, RICKIE MABE with JUSTIN LONG and BRANDON ROUTH
What struck me best about ‘Zack and Miri make a Porno’ is the film’s ability to intermediate between two extremes of parodies – while on the one end it dissects mainstream pornography (a convenient excuse for the raunchiness it hides up its… sleeve) to hilarious extents, on the other it takes its sophisticated jab at how romantic comedies work (our movie needs an ending, indeed!). And the conceptual success of the film hinges on how well it tends to do both – not bad, I would say!
Armouring it further is the intellectual capacity of cast and crew, namely Seth Rogen as Zack Brown, his stereotype – the fearless comic, who piles up line after line but not with the excessiveness of Ellen Page’s ‘Juno’ or the might of Soderbergh’s Ocean lot. He strikes a sublime balance between the intellect and the everyday guy and packages it into a shy, yet shameless semi-nerd who is only as proud as he is embarrassed at himself. The result is a fat kid that grew up without a hike on popularity, characterized by sharp spikes of smartness and wit and an almost-idiotic face that has everything to do with how he looks! Rogen, with an impressive underperformance, looks to be the flag-bearer of comedies to come (and I mean the deuce).
I’ve never seen Elizabeth Banks being in charge – well, she’s technically not in this as well, but all the same, she does her second-fiddle job quite religiously, particularly intriguing in the places where she had to act like she was acting but was not. Perhaps I’m overstating her performance, but what matters is the fact that her Miriam ‘Stinky’ Linky comes out to be a crackle, if not dynamite, as she interestingly elevates herself by letting herself be put down. Kind of how the pauper’s king of the losing game? Except that she’s a winner, obviously, where she gets more than half your attention.
It would be unfair to credit the film beyond these two, considering there was nothing without – a sort of a two-man play where you need a couple more to be the trees. But without the trees, all you’ve got is an empty stage and that’s pretty much what they’re there for – the set pieces of a game that cannot function without. After all, it’s not a one-act porno they’re making!
Here is a film where sexual tension really is sexual tension and nothing more. This is what you call a ‘sex comedy’. And what I liked more was how it was fearless about its content, even excessive at times, proving to be a reflection of lifestyle if anything, diced with a little sweetness for flavour. The end, as always, can only be one and writers these days are having to work between fixed points with the excuse of appealing cinema, but with the fun-ride that it is and its rocket-speed, ‘Zack and Miri make a Porno’ is one of those films that you just feel like sitting through. A bus trip of sorts where all you’ve got to do is just enjoy the view – and in this case, it’s a cruise along the road to El Whore-ado, just by the ‘****-back mountain’.