Monday, 21 December 2009

Zack and Miri Make a Porno

Lowdown: A couple of means lacking platonic friends make a porno.
Review:
Like many of my generation, the child in me grew up to regard porn as something mythical simply because it was inaccessible. I was even too shy to buy my own dirty magazines (lucky for me, I had friends). Today things are different: the internet has made porn so accessible it had become mainstream. Mainstream, yet comfortably ignored by most people, people that prefer to pretend it doesn’t exist instead of tackling it head on for better or worse.
I therefore have an immediate affection to those that don’t shy from tackling porn, and Zack and Miri Make a Porno is one such fine example. Zack and Miri treats porn without any apologies.
Zack (Seth Rogan) and Miri are a couple of lacklustre school friends sharing an apartment together ten years after graduation. Essentially, their life has been on hold since school. Times are tough, though: they can’t pay the rent, they can’t pay their bills, and it is damn cold out there (and in there). What can they do to salvage themselves from their misery?
Several events open their eyes to the options before them. A candid camera video of Miri in her underwear becomes a YouTube hit; they meet a genuine porn star at their school reunion as Miri discovers the subject of her high school infatuation is gay; and their utilities get disconnected. They have no option but to make their own porno and star in it.
After lengthy discussions focusing on the title of their flick (e.g., Star Whores), they recruit a producer and some additional “actors” and head off to shooting. But how will the so far platonic relationship between Zack and Miri survive onscreen sex with alternate partners?
It doesn’t take long to realize Zack and Miri is a Kevin Smith (of Clerks’ fame) film. It’s a comedy with long, shallow yet funny nonsense dialog of typical Kevin Smith qualities. Don’t get me wrong: It’s nice and it’s funny as long as you’re not sitting in front of your TV expecting a profound discussion on the meaning of life.
Other than that, the most notable attribute of Zack and Miri is its lack of any proper sex scenes. Sure, we see boobs here and there, and there is some sex action going on during the making of the porno, but that is limited to the minor actors fuelling the laughter rather than erotic porno. Do not expect a porn experience with Zack and Miri, especially not with Zack and Miri themselves.
So, is this Kevin Smith’s way of bowing down to the puritans? No; it’s just a matter of perceptions. At its core, Zack and Miri is a typical romantic comedy not unlike, say, Jane Austen’s Emma. Both feature two lovers who never realized they were such and both tell the tale surrounding those circumstances. Zack and Miri’s element of porn is just a filler; it’s just that it becomes the talk of the town because of the way our culture is unable to deal with porn without any guilt feelings.
Best scene: Justin Long (the Mac dude from the “I’m a Mac and I’m a PC” ads) does one hell of a gay porn star impersonation.
Technical assessment: This is not the Blu-ray you would use to demonstrate the capabilities of your home theater. It’s not too bad, though, with some interesting sound design elements (e.g., the noise from Zack’s car), but it’s far from maximizing the benefits of the Blu-ray format.
Overall: A funny but not too deep, 3 out of 5 stars film.

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