As any cinema-goer knows, there has been a spate of movies in recent years with crude, poo and dick-joke shells that hide a gooey, moral filling. Such films as The 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up, and I Love You, Man hide positive social messages underneath a heap of fuck-words and references to “rusty trombones” and (in the case of Zack and Miri) “Dutch rudders”. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say….I like these movies. I think they’re making the world a better place.
Ok, maybe they’re not making the world a better place in the way Mother Theresa did, but I still like the thought of 15 year old asshole teen boys laughing their butts off at Jonah Hill drawing thousands of pictures of cocks in Superbad while also getting schooled on how male friendship is a good thing and nothing to be ashamed about. And also how hooking up with chicks while drunk is a bad idea. Talk about a spoonful of sugar helping the medicine go down. Only in this case, it’s a throat-full of cocks making the medicine go down…hmm, maybe that’s not quite the right metaphor, but you get the idea.
Zack and Miri Make a Porno, directed by Kevin Smith (no stranger to moral messages hidden in crude films—see Dogma), is yet another example of this new breed of film. Seth Rogen (who else, really?) plays Zack Brown and Elizabeth Banks (the kinky “freak” in The 40 Year Old Virgin [who, by the way, wasn’t kinky at all…she masturbated with a shower nozzle. That’s not kinky, that’s just good sense. But I’ll save my rant for some other time]) plays Miri Linky. Zack and Miri have been best friends since first grade and now they live in an apartment in Pittsburgh with shitty jobs and bills piling up. When their water and electricity get cut off, they are at a loss for how to find some fast cash. So, after being inspired by Justin Long, in a cameo role as a rich gay porn star, the two friends decide to—we have a title, people!—make a porno.
After gathering up a scrappy cast and crew (including ex-porn actress Traci Lords) and deciding who’s going to do what to whom, Miri and Zack decide they will film a scene together as well. Predictably, this decision is followed by a lot of chatter about how “it’s just sex” and “it won’t change anything”. Gee, can you guess what happens? Turns out, people who care for each other suck and porno scenes—they’re too busy being gentle and lovey-dovey to scream out porn-worthy dialogue like “Eat my asshole, bitch!” and “Come on my titties, man-slut!” (Ps…why is porn dialogue so mean?)
So, like, sorry to “blow” (heh) the ending for you, but Zack and Miri fall in love during the process of making the movie and then fuck it up through the typical rom-com type misunderstandings, game-playing, and jealousy. But don’t worry. It all works out in the end (heh…“end”).
What makes Zack and Miri so great and awesome and unique? Well, nothing really. It lacks the cleverness of The 40 Year Old Virgin. It really is old hat by this point. I mean, movies where Seth Rogen references his balls and taint are a dime a dozen these days.
But Zack and Miri has a lot of heart. The chemistry between Rogen and Banks is surprisingly good. Their sex scene, while not realistic (Miri comes simultaneously with Zack in missionary without any extra “help” and it’s their first time doing it. Yeah, right. And the Pope is going to send his own personal batch of condoms to Africa tomorrow. Dream on) is actually quite sweet and intimate. It’s a funny, pleasant movie about some nice people who find love. Oh, and there’s like, boobies and stuff.
So what’s not to like? Against all odds, I am not sick of Seth Rogen yet. I’ll watch anything he’s in. And I like Elizabeth Banks too. And Kevin Smith is always great for some easy laffs. And I like these movies that let men—not just women—have feelings and be irrational and fall crazy-in-love too, because I hold out hope that men aren’t unfeeling fuck-maniacs like so many other movies and magazines and TV shows and relationship manuals would have us all believe and accept. And on the flipside, I like movies (like this one) where women aren’t all frigid, marriage-obsessed cunts who backstab and manipulate men into liking them.
So yay for Zack and Miri Make a Porno. It’s a movie for a generation of people like me who like sex and dirty jokes, but also value friendship and love. As long as people like Judd Apatow and Kevin Smith keep churning out movies like this…I will keep adding them to my Netflix queue.