Movie Reviews
12:41 pm
Mon October 27, 2008

Zach and Miri Make a Porno

Sexy romance

"Pornography is the attempt to insult sex, to do dirt on it." D.H. Lawrence


It's not what you think. Although Zach and Miri Make a Porno is filled with potty-mouthed, adolescent sexual and scatological language, it ends up being a good-old romance with sex on the side. Helping me out of my prejudice going into what I thought to be another Animal House, Caddy Shack low-country romp was the presence of two fine comedic actors.

Seth Rogen of Knocked-Up, Superbad fame has a teddy bear, knowing, slacking presence that belies his writing talents (Superbad, Pineapple Express) and his ability to dead-pan and toss off a line with the best of Hollywood's traditional rom-com comedians. As Zach, because he's out of money, he's eventually slips into making a porno movie with his best friend Miri (Elizabeth Banks). His reassuring wit on screen helps the audience get through some raunchy moments that must be looked on with an ironic eye or civilization would appear to be lost in porn quicksand.

Elizabeth Banks (Laura Bush in W) uses her patented sweetness to pepper the trash-mouthed dialogue necessary for her to appear as a credible comedienne. In Miri she has a role to expand her versatility. But it's director Kevin Smith's (Clerks, Chasing Amy) movie, with the usual racist riffs and gutter gabbing, and the sweetness at the core, like Banks herself.

Zach and Miri is really about ingenuity in the face of dire straits. Miri gains new respect for her friend when she sees him maneuver the cast and herself in the waters of self doubt and achievement. In no small part is it about romantic love trumping lust, an unexpected denouement from a soft title.