“Zack and Miri Make a Porno”
At Quality 16 and Showcase
The Weinstein Co.

Courtesy of Weinstein Co.

3.5 out of Stars

“Zack and Miri Make a Porno” was given the green light because of its title alone, and it sure as hell has been turning people away ever since. Even the television advertisements for the film are now only referring to this as simply “Zack and Miri,” though anyone who only sees those versions and shows up for the first part of the title will find themselves woefully shocked and confused.

Zack (Seth Rogen, “Knocked Up”) and Miri (Elizabeth Banks, “W.”) have been friends since the first grade. Apparently unable to branch out and find new friends, the two now share an apartment, even though both can barely afford to pay the bills. These two epitomize the phrase “lovable losers.” They even say on the way to a high school reunion, “We might be losers in every way, but at least we’re better than those people.”

It’s at this high school reunion that Zack meets Brandon St. Randy (Justin Long, “Strange Wilderness”), star of such films as “Shut Your Mouth or I’m Going to Have Sex With It,” who gives him an idea that could solve all Zack and Miri’s financial blues — they should make a porno.

With the help of their friend Delaney (the wonderfully underrated and hilarious Craig Robinson of TV’s “The Office”) and a few extremely willing actors (including porn star Traci Lords), the two set about making what has to be, in the words of Delaney, “The worst porno I’ve ever seen.” The porno comes complete with requisite cheesy music and even more ridiculous dialogue, such as: “I can’t believe this, I was just delivering some cream and look what’s happening!”

Zack and Miri spend a lot of time attempting to come up with a title for their porno that won’t be too dirty or turn people off. So the real question is, is this film as dirty as everyone thinks it is?

Well, admittedly, it is graphic. Jason Mewes of “Jay and Silent Bob” fame and porn star Katie Morgan (star of films with names that are more offensive than you can even imagine) show just about everything. The film is tellingly vulgar, but this is what we’ve come to expect from writer/director Kevin Smith (“Clerks”). The crassness in his writing is delivered with such nonchalance — not to mention rapidity — that it’s the perfect accompaniment to each joke. It doesn’t feel like the dialogue is thrown in for pure jolts.

Yet, for all its perversions, “Zack and Miri” has an earnest doggedness underneath, though we may cringe at how it’s accomplished. Beneath this crude exterior is a surprisingly sweet romance between Zack and Miri, even if there isn’t any way someone like Seth Rogen could get someone like Elizabeth Banks in real life.

But the point of the film isn’t in the excessive nudity or profanity. It’s also hilarious, if you can loosen up enough to admit it.

It goes without saying that “Zack and Miri” is obviously not for everyone. But really, with the word “porno” in the title, you’re going to get exactly what you expect. Some of the laughs may be cheap and dirty, but who cares when you’re this busy laughing at them?

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