The title alone, shortened to ‘Zach and Miri’ in the Bible Belt regions, demands attention. Writer/Director Kevin Smith, known well for such well known cult classics as’ ‘Mallrats’ and ‘Clerks,’ attempts his most controversial weaving of genres since ‘Chasing Amy.’
The romantic-comedy is the ethics of Larry Flynt meeting two childhood friends that are so broke they’re willing to sell themselves, on film. Smith fans expecting his usual nausea-educing display of bathroom humor combined with boob-shots will not be disappointed.
Those hoping for a love story that rivals the likes of ‘Chasing Amy’ will be left quite unsatisfied.
Seth Rogen gives a hilarious performance as Zach, a loser barista who spends his pathetic salary on hockey gear instead of rent. The idea for a porno comes to Zach at a high school reunion where he meets Brandon (Justin Long) a gay-porn producer who happens to be dating Miri’s temporary love interest Brandon (Bobby Long).
In a twist of fate, Miri (Elizabeth Banks) finds out that she has earned her own internet notoriety as ‘Granny Panties,’ due to teenage antics and a cell phone camera. So, without families to disappoint and on the verge of homelessness, Zach and Miri make a porno.
A romantic-porn may be Kevin Smith’s most ingenious idea yet. The demographic supporting his films, like Jay and Silent Bob Strikes Back, oddly meshes with the male centered world of soft porn. Add a romantic narrative and you have an instant success (money-shot). Luckily, the sex film flies under the radar of an NC-17 rating. No need to be prudish.
However, the film proves somewhat straight-laced in the portrayal of Zach and Miri’s romance. The story integrates the comic hardships of making a porno and the love story, ultimately favoring the love story. But does it? Or does the love scene between the main characters end up being the most climatic letdown of the movie?
In today’s society, where perfunctory marriages seem a thing of the past, this movie has a lot to say about relationships. Where is the intensity Smith reaches in Chasing Amy?
Instead, he seduces the audience with a love story and then practically puts the voyeuristic cast (filming Zach and Miri’s scene) asleep along with the viewers. While I realize the film tries to make a distinction between sex for love and just sex (routinely called hooking up), the filmmaker’s portrayal of this moment offends those who believe in the sexiness of ‘making love.’
The film effectively seeks to offend on all fronts. Between the chokingly great conflicts, use of bodily excrement and race jokes, you’ll laugh until you throw up. (Warning: Don’t eat before you this movie). Thus, Smith’s film achieves his comical standard. It’s a scream, but the love story is a moan.
Four stars out of five.