Zack and Miri Make a Porno Review

It’s amazing how lenient the MPAA can be. Take Zack and Miri Make a Porno for instance. Dangerously close to a NC-17, the film contains everything a porno could short of actual sex acts.

Starring Seth Rogen (Zack) and Elizabeth Banks (Miri), this crude romantic comedy has the pair struggling for money and deciding that porn is the answer to their troubles. Longtime friends and nothing more, underneath the hilarious crass tone lies a surprisingly tender romance between the two that evolves on screen… and on camera as their “film” enters production.

No one is going to call Kevin Smith clean. His movies are famous (infamous?) for showcasing a giant Sh*t Demon, which is better off left at that. What’s amazing is that yes, Zack and Miri somehow goes even lower, yet all for the better. With all of the raunchy comedies littering movie screens, Miri eclipses them all, including a scene that is far more disturbing than a Sh*t Demon. You’ll never look at cake frosting the same way again.

In terms of plot, it’s loosely threaded together to maximize the laughs. The third act is mostly concerned with the relationship (good and bad) between Zack and Miri. Laughs take the day off for the most part here, although it does help the film rise above the genre clichés of simply adding more gross out moments. At least this one is trying to have a heart.

Certainly not for the squeamish or those offended by sex (?), Zack and Miri is laugh out loud funny throughout. Kevin Smith’s writing is sharp, though undoubtedly aided by some ad-libbing on-set. While it may slow down before a strong finish (stay for the credits), there’s little question you’ll have a blast with this one.

Movie ★★★★☆ 

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Zack and Miri has one problem keeping it away from video perfection. The overly deep black levels are simply too much, crushing detail and giving the film a flat look instead of the three-dimensional look it’s trying for. It’s a shame too since scenes with the blacks under control look outstanding. It’s razor sharp, loaded with superb detail, excellent color saturation, and well-calibrated whites. Flesh tones are spot-on. It’s close, but disappointing given the potential.

Video ★★★★☆ 

The TrueHD track offers a few notable moments. The high school reunion gives both solid bass and excellent surround ambiance. A hockey game later in the film is likewise impressive. The entire film is mixed a little low, but dialogue is always audible and clear. For a simple comedy, Miri offers more than you would expect.

Audio ★★★★☆ 

Despite the lack of a commentary, there’s not much else you could ask for with these extras. A lengthy one hour and fourteen minute documentary offers every possible detail on the film, completely eliminating the need for a commentary in the process. In what must be a record setter, 43 deleted scenes run just over an hour and a half, practically creating a second movie. Most importantly, they’re worthwhile material, not simply throw-aways.

Money Shots are a collection of 22 webisodes shot during production that run for 48 minutes. Again, it’s hilarious stuff, particularly the last one. A Comic-Con ’08 panel has cast and crew discussing the film for over 20 minutes (it can be hard to hear). A priceless selection of outtakes is 13 minutes of fun, while Seth Rogen and Justin Long go head-to-head in the improv department for their main scene. BD-Live capability is included, but has yet to go online as of this writing.

Extras ★★★★★ 


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