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DVD Review: ‘Zack and Miri Make A Porno’ 2-Disc Edition
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The Movie God   |  @   |  
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Zack and Miri Make A Porno
2-Disc Edition
Directed by Kevin Smith
Starring Seth Rogen, Elizabeth Banks, Craig Robinson, Jason Mewes, Justin Long
Weinstein Company
Release Date: February 3, 2009

When it comes to Kevin Smith, I may be a little bit biased. Whether people love or hate his movies, I always seem to love them for one reason or the other. What can I say, the dude’s style and his sense of humor have always simply entertained the hell out of me and that is what it is.

Zack and Miri Make A Porno is the biggest movie for Kevin Smith so far. Instead of using his normal gang of actors, he used some of them and fused them together with a group of Judd Apatow’s people — not a bad idea, strategically.

The movie follows Zack Brown (Seth Rogen) and Miriam Linky (Elizabeth Banks), a pair of twenty-somethings who live together and who have known each other since childhood. Basically, the two are just old buddies — they joke with each other, insult each other playfully, and all is well this way. Unfortunately, times are tough and bills are coming faster than income is, so their water, heat, and electricity all get shut off. After a quintessentially painful, awkward, and depressing ten-year high school reunion, Zack and Miri sit at a bar to avoid their cold apartment and figure out how to fix everything. Their idea: make a porno movie. Their logic: anyone anywhere always wants to watch other people having sex. What they didn’t expect were the emotional repercussions of having sex with your best friend on camera for money.

Zack and Miri is really, really funny. Simply put. It’s the first time that Kevin Smith stepped back a little from his normal dialogue regiment and allowed his cast to ad-lib away as necessary. This, for the most part, works great; sometimes, it’s not so great (more on that later). The back-and-forth between Seth Rogen and Justin Long is priceless, and just as good when they are with the other characters. While porn is a massive part of the movie, it’s certainly not the core — that comes from the lovable characters in a desperate situation, deciding to resort to some hilariously desperate measure to better their own situations.

Speaking of the porn, though — the movie is a very, VERY graphic movie, as we’ve all heard. Its battles for an R-rating were made pretty understandable while watching, and I’m even a little surprised that they won their appeal with the MPAA. If the documentary (which always needs to be mentioned at least once while discussing ratings) This Film Is Not Yet Rated taught us anything at all, it was that violence will go a long way in a movie, and sex will not… especially with excessive “thrusting.” While “thrusting” is known to be pretty natural, it is still very much frowned upon by the soccer moms and confused dads that compose the MPAA, and Zack and Miri has a lot of it. A lot. Oh, and beyond that, there’s still that one microsecond-long bit that had them really gunning for NC-17, but we won’t get into that one and go ruining the shock that will be on your face when you see it. What matters, though, is that in the end, the movie did win its R-rating (because of Steve-O from Jackass, as you’ll learn in the Special Features), and it is one incredibly raunchy and freakin’ hilarious ride.

Once you get past all of that graphic nature you may or may not be able to handle, you’ll find a simple, warm, and sometimes even romantic story. While the premise is for the most part extreme and raunchy, there’s a lot here that people will be able to relate to, whether it be the love story, the harsh financial situations, maybe that high school reunion coming up (like myself, argh). There’s certainly more to this movie than that brilliant title insinuates.

As I do in most reviews, I like to give the pros and cons of a movie, so that anyone who may be interested can judge for themselves. The heavy sexual content here will be a big thing for some people to get by, but I personally only found one thing that seemed unnecessary and reflected negatively at some points. This was the language. I have nothing against swearing in movies (in fact I think swearing adds realism to a movie), but there is such a thing as way too much, and that’s what’s going on in Zack and Miri. Almost every line in this movie has some form of vulgar language thrown into it, but most of those lines are painfully funny and may just have you crying. The problem here is that on a few occasions one or two extra vulgarities are shoved into a line. I’m not sure if this was intentional, or if it was just the actors ad-libbing away, but it was noticeable. It may just be me, but when someone says the word “fuck” three or four times in a line that was already funny enough with just one, it can become distracting and really take away from the joke. Don’t get me wrong, too much language isn’t going to ruin a perfectly hilarious movie for me, but it was something that stood out as being worth noting.

One last thing that really needs to be mentioned. About halfway through the movie, when the crew is filming scenes from Star Whores, a little montage plays. The song that Kevin Smith selected for this montage was none other than “Fette’s Vette” by MC Chris. Many of you may not be familiar with this tune, but for me it was the sealing point. Smith couldn’t have used a funnier, more perfectly fitting or obscure song for the bit, and it seriously made my night.

Zack and Miri is not for the prude or easily insulted folks out there. If you’re young, laid back, or love Kevin Smith movies, you obviously need to give this one a watch. Its mixture of graphic nature and language intertwined with a sweet love story is absolutely insane to attempt, but it finds a way to work, and that’s all we ever really need in life.

Special Features

DISC ONE

Deleted Scenes — This was a rare treat. Most of the time, deleted scenes are just filler and there’s a reason they don’t make the final cut. With Zack and Miri, I was surprised to find a ton of deleted scenes — most of which I enjoyed a lot and would have loved in the movie. As a comedy, they have an even more strict run-time to aim for, so it’s understandable that they were cut, but funny and worth checking out.

DISC TWO

Popcorn Porn: The Making of Zack and Miri — This “making of” featurette is insane. I put it on figuring it would be your basic feature and the damn thing ran almost as long as the movie itself! I didn’t get to sleep until about 5AM that day, but it was worth it to see what went into this semi-insane movie. And nothing beats learning about the shit cannon. Yeah, shit cannon.

Money Shots: A Series of Webisodes — Kevin Smith is on the Internet as much as anyone else, and he’s loyal to his fans. To keep everyone up to date on how things were on the set — as a lot of filmmakers do these days — many little web episodes were produced and are now offered up on the DVD.

Comic Con 2008 — I wasn’t able to attend San Diego Comic Con last summer, but I was able to listen to the Zack and Miri Make A Porno panel. Thanks to this special feature, I was able to actually watch the entire panel. It was nice.

Gang Bang: Outtakes, Ad-Libs, and Bloopers — Pretty self-explanatory. On a movie like this one, you know there’s going to be some crazy mess-ups and wackiness. All of the above are shown off in this feature. As I always say, every DVD should have a gag reel.

Seth vs. Justin: Battle For Improvisational Supremacy — Part 1 — As I mentioned in the review, there was an abundance of ad-libing between these two kids. This feature documents all of the on-the-spot lines that they spewed out as needed. You decide the winner! I have no idea why this is Part 1, because I didn’t get Part 2. Not sure if that is being saved for the unrated DVD that’s sure to be coming eventually or if it’s on the Blu-ray edition or if it’s the one and only which they decided to call Part 1.

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