20 November 2008

Zack and Miri Make a Porno Review


Kevin Smith has done Zack and Miri before. Not in the sense that he's made a film about two people desperate for cash making porn, but he has tried to make a feel-good comedy like this before. But as a fairly bad omen for Zack and Miri, Jersey Girl was a horrendous, disgustingly soppy affair, with almost nothing to redeem it. Fortunately, whilst this latest entry into his canon does retain some of the sentimentality, it also decides 'fuck the schmaltz' and throws in a healthy dollop of Smith's trademark filthy banter. And even though this isn't up there with the heights of Dogma or Clerks 2, it does have a foul-mouthed charm that's hard to deny.

Once again, the true star of the show is Smith's terrifically funny script. He's never been the flashiest of directors, and nowhere is it more evident than it is here - beyond the wonderfully grainy and deliberately slightly shoddy 'home video' moments, there's nothing of note to write home about. What does shine, however, is his cast's delivery of his script.

The role of Zack was written specifically for Seth Rogen, and it certainly fits him like a glove. There's simply no way that he could've been anything other than Rogen's trademarked tubby-but-loveable-loser, and Rogen is truly outstanding - as he is wont to be as of late. There's something remarkable about the man, because anyone who can say 'let's make a porno!' and actually manage to make it sound like a good plan deserves quite a few kudos. Zack comes - excuse the pun - off as a genuinely nice guy...in a Smith-ianly crude kind of way.

Elizabeth Banks is less strong in the role of Miri - the same wit is present, but only half the zest in the delivery. Perhaps she's better suited to the satire of W or the trademark comedy of Scrubs, but either way she isn't the best of fits here. She's not bad - there're simply better actresses for the role. But elsewhere there's some top notch performances going on. Craig Robinson is superb as the emmasculated producer Delaney, his trash talk subdued yet incredibly funny, and Jeff Anderson seems to be growing under Smith's direction, putting in what could be classed as a genuinely decent performance - as opposed to the stand-up-with-extra-people-in-it that was Clerks and Clerks 2. He actually feels like a character instead of just Jeff Anderson.

But it just has to be said again - the real spark is in the script, and whilst it does descend a little too far into the sentimentality barrel towards the end, there's more than enough hilarity ensuing - from the banter between Zack and Miri to the crude yet oh-so-funny set piece involving the other kind of sex - that you can actually forgive it this time, instead of Jersey Girl's leaving a sour taste in your mouth.

Truth be told, the only real way to judge a comedy movie is to count how many times you laugh out loud. That count'd be about 15 for me. Essential for any Smith fans, and perhaps as good a segue as you'll get for any newcomers. It's not Clerks 2, but then again...what is?

1 comment:

Paul said...

Clerks 2 is Clerks 2, silly! - Din