I actually saw this one shortly after it's release. I've just been holding off on writing a review until I could do it justice, which means putting both it and the man responsible for it into perspective.
Zack and Miri Make a Porno
(2008) stars Seth Rogen as Zack Brown and Elizabeth Banks as Miri Linky. These two have been friends since childhood and share an apartment together. They fall upon hard times and get the idea to film a porno to solve their financial woes. After assembling a cast and crew, as well as hitting a few snags along the way, they find themselves asking the question a lot of characters in movies ask themselves: Can you have sex with someone without changing the nature of your relationship? I'll get to my opinion later. Right now let's talk about it's writer and director, Kevin Smith.
Smith has had an interesting career ever since his debut film Clerks
(1994). As he discusses in his Q&A An Evening with Kevin Smith
films, he makes movies inexpensively, releases them to his established audience, and continues to make money on their subsequent DVD releases. This is both good and bad. It's good in that it doesn't take much to keep himself afloat. It's bad in that it can keep him tethered to an audience who can pigeonhole him into making the same movie again and again. The backlash they had to Jersey Girl
(2004), a script he started writing after the birth of his daughter, Harley Quinn, was enough to get him to answer "Never make Jersey Girl
," as the one lesson he'd learned most in his years of film-making.
Moving away from his characters Jay and Silent Bob, Smith says Zack and Miri
is a movie about what it's like to make an independent film and to build a family of people all working towards one goal. This makes sense when you consider the love story isn't as deep as Jersey Girl
or Chasing Amy
(1997). I won't say he's afraid to stretch his wings and try new projects but he also knows on which side his bread is buttered. It only takes pissing off people in your core fan base once to make you be less daring and want to play it safe by some standards. Getting Seth Rogan to bring in some of the Judd Apatow crowd was a smart move in increasing his audience, just like directing the Reaper
pilot and branching into other genres. (I recall him saying on his podcast with Scott Mosier, Smodcast
, that the next flick he's putting out is going to be a horror film.)
Would I recommend this movie? Yes, I would. It's funny, cute, and if anything has a surprisingly good soundtrack. Is it one of his best? That's largely a perspective question. I personally enjoy Dogma
(1999) the most, though critics always go back to Clerks
or Chasing Amy
. There are obviously going to be people who find it a retread, or think the story's lame, or any number of other legitimate reasons not to like this one. It's at least decent and fans of Kevin Smith's dialogue should enjoy it as it's delivered very well here. I could point you to worse things he's put his stamp on, I'll say that much. So, as this flick is on it's way out of theaters, go check it out or put it on your rentals list for the future