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Seth Rogen, Elizabeth Banks, raunch, and poop star in <em>Zack and Miri Make a Porno</em>.

Seth Rogen, Elizabeth Banks, raunch, and poop star in Zack and Miri Make a Porno.


Zack and Miri Make a Porno

Seth Rogen, Elizabeth Banks, and Jason Mewes star in a film written and directed by Kevin Smith.


The time has come for us to admit that this culture has finally attained a level of vulgarity that Boccaccio, Chaucer, and Mozart would truly appreciate. In films like Zack and Miri Make a Porno, and in television shows like It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, a blood-dimmed tide of sex and poop jokes that would have shocked censors to death 20 years ago has been irreversibly unleashed. It seems finally like the last days of Victorian influence, if not the apocalypse of the Puritan ethos. This film features a bout of closely photographed sex involving a woman proudly proclaiming her bad case of constipation. It ends, so to speak, with a payoff that the ancient Greeks might have relished, that Imperial Rome would have eaten up. No doubt we have entered the Neo-Classical Age of Dirty Jokes.

What’s really pertinent about this otherwise middling-funny film, though, is its hybrid quality: This is a Kevin Smith movie trying very hard to be a Judd Apatow film. And to the extent that this is a story about two platonic friends who try to have sex on camera while keeping it casual-and it combines gleefully coarse themes with an unlikely helping of sweet lightheartedness-Zack and Miri is an Apatow film. (Seth Rogen even shows up to seal the deal.) Aside from Star Wars jokes and Jason (Jay and Silent Bob) Mewes’s performance, Smith seems to have exerted very little of his trademark pop culture cynicism here. He’s bowing to a superior master, and somehow even the cinematography seems better.

Elizabeth Banks, who lit up the lowbrow incisiveness of W., ought to get a special Academy Award for the gameness she displays here. She’s beautiful but somehow believably blue collar Pittsburgh, and when she makes love to Rogen, the whole film somehow drops its utter implausibility.

Despite its cultural watershed role, you might think the movie’s low humor to high romance quotient is a little too predictably Apatow-sweet. Don’t worry about the kids, it says. It’s the end of the world as we knew it, but they’ll feel fine.

For showtimes, check the Independent's movie listings, here.

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