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Zack and Miri Make a Porno(2008)
Lifelong friends and roommates Zack (Seth Rogen) and Miri (Elizabeth Banks) are facing hard times and a mountain of debt. When the electricity and plumbing get cut off, they seize upon the idea of making a homegrown porno movie for some quick cash, enlisting the help of their friends. The two vow that having sex will not ruin their friendship. But as filming begins, what started out as a business proposition between friends turns into something much more.
For more about Zack and Miri Make a Porno and the Zack and Miri Make a Porno Blu-ray release, see Zack and Miri Make a Porno Blu-ray Review published by Ben Williams on January 31, 2009 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Director: Kevin Smith (I)
Writer: Kevin Smith (I)
Starring: Seth Rogen, Elizabeth Banks, Craig Robinson, Jason Mewes, Jeff Anderson (I), Gerry Bednob
» See full cast & crew
Zack and Miri Make a Porno Blu-ray Review
Kevin Smith's latest and most deliciously tasteless comedy
Reviewed by Ben Williams, January 31, 2009
Does Kevin Smith have the best job in the world? He occupies the enviable role of producing films that are unique to his sensibilities while maintaining a fan base that manages to guarantee the relative success of each of his films. While he isn't a particularly profitable filmmaker theatrically, each of his films manages to make just enough money to ensure his next project gets the green-light; before going on to rake in the cash on video. That's not too shabby for a guy who got his big break with a self-financed indie comedy that defied all expectations and became a sensation. Smith's latest entry into his bizarre comedic resume is Zack and Miri Make a Porno, a veritable cornucopia of vulgar and scatological silliness that still manages to retain an element of sweetness. It's a bizarre and unconventional movie that never fails to entertain and elicit hearty laughter.
Zack (Seth Rogen) and Miri (Elizabeth Banks) know each other all-too-well. Inseparable since grade school, the duo has managed to remain platonic friends throughout the trials and tribulations of their teens to late twenties. One fateful Thanksgiving, Zack and Miri make a particularly disastrous appearance at their 10-year high school reunion; returning to their shabby apartment just in time to discover their utilities have been disconnected. In the midst of the cold Pennsylvania winter and with no money to pay their overdue bills, much less their rent, they arrive at a startling solution. They'll make a porno film, starring themselves, in the hopes that enough members of their high school class might buy a copy. Inspired by their new project, Zack and Miri team up with a rag-tag bunch of aspiring porn wannabes, a coworker with the funds needed for production and a friend with a video camera. As their fledgling production commences, it becomes clear that Zack and Miri possibly harbor feelings for one another that might be more than merely friendly. Can two platonic friends have sex without it changing their relationship - - even if it's just for the money?
Zack and Miri Make a Porno is easily the raunchiest of Kevin Smith's films. Despite containing full-frontal nudity, four letter words, crude sexual references, bodily fluid jokes and enough blush-inducing material to make the MPAA brand the film with a NC-17 rating on several separate occasions, the movie still maintains a warmth and sweetness that is impossible to ignore. Zack and Miri, in spite of their platonic status, are like an old married couple - - their bickering sarcastic banter is a clear indication of the affection they feel for each other. Both Rogen and Banks do fine comedic work in the film while effectively selling the love story. It's an especially tricky part for Rogen; an actor who specializes in being the most over-the-top element of the films he participates in. Here, he's more of the straight man to the sillier Banks and the supporting cast.
Speaking of the supporting cast, Smith has assembled an outstanding collection of comedic talent from his own View Askew Universe, as well as several prominent supporting players recognizable from Judd Apatow's series of films. In addition, Justin Long, playing a husky- voiced and boisterous gay porn star with flair for making outlandish sexual proclamations, completely steals the film in only a few minutes of screen time. As viewers will discover in the special features, Smith allowed some of his actors to deviate from his script and into improvisational territory, often with hilarious results. Long and Rogen are the clear benefactors of this; each of their scenes evolve into increasingly side-splitting situations where the extreme vulgarity of their dialogue is matched only by their creativity and hilarity. Another strong albeit brief performance is turned in by none other than Jason Mewes; known to many simply as the Jay in Jay and Silent Bob. Here, he's the epitome of clueless and out-to-lunch; yet always a scene-stealer.
I imagine that there are plenty of viewers out there that will be uncomfortable with the subject matter, language and situations presented in Zack and Miri Make a Porno. For those that are easily offended, it might be best to move on down the line to another Blu-ray comedy. For those who are unfazed by the film's content, prepare yourself for a genuinely funny movie that isn't afraid to be sweet or sentimental. Zack and Miri Make a Porno comes highly recommended.
Zack and Miri Make a Porno Blu-ray, Video Quality
Kevin Smith has never been known for making films that are particularly concerned with cinematography. Much of his previous body of work tends to be on the plain side and this lack of visual flair has given his films an effective working-class look and feel. Zack and Miri Make a Porno, on the other hand, is remarkably well shot; its lush and colorful appearance does an excellent job of underscoring the warm heart of the movie. The Weinstein Company has given the film a pleasing 1080p, AVC Mpeg-4 encoded Blu-ray transfer, in the film's original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1.
Warm colors are the key to Zack and Miri Make a Porno. Cinematographer David Klein has given the film a lived-in look that contrasts the stark winter chill of Pennsylvania, with the invitingly shabby interior spaces that make up the majority of the film. I was impressed with the nicely saturated colors and skin-tones presented on this Blu-ray. Detail was average, but contrast and black levels were spot-on and accurate. Digital annoyances were a non- issue as well. Zack and Miri Make a Porno ranks as one of Mr. Smith's best looking films, visually. It's a welcome addition to the Blu-ray lineup.
Zack and Miri Make a Porno Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Given that Zack and Miri Make a Porno is a completely dialogue-driven comedy, it should come as no surprise that the film's lossless 5.1 Dolby TrueHD audio track isn't a particularly dynamic surround presentation. The biggest problem with the track, however, is that it appears to have been mastered at a lower volume than what is customarily considered reference. This substantially lower volume results in a track that I was forced to increase in volume by five notches above reference in order to enjoy at normal listening levels. The bizarre nature of this volume error presented an unusual issue; at such a high listening level, I was forced to make adjustments to my subwoofer. The LFE channel overpowered everything else in the system and produced a distracting and abnormal amount of bass. Once adjustments were made, the track performed relatively well; recorded voices were well reproduced and the film's musical score was seamlessly integrated across the front soundstage. Surround activity was minimal at best and there was a lack of any real ambient fill throughout the movie. I would never subtract points for stylistic choices intentionally made for a film. The volume issue, however, is a considerable problem that could prove to be distracting and ultimately unsatisfying for even the most casual viewer. The possibility exists that I have a defective copy of the film and time will tell if this is a problem that effects the entire production run of the film. Until that has been determined, proceed with caution and be prepared to make some adjustments.
Zack and Miri Make a Porno Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Here's what's included:
- "Popcorn Porn: Watching Zack and Miri Make a Porno"
- Deleted Scenes
- Money Shots – Webisodes
- Comic Con 2008 – Zack and Miri Panel
- Gang Bang – Outtakes and Bloopers
- Seth vs. Justin: Battle for Improvisational Supremacy
At first glance, the selection of supplements might not look like much on this Blu-ray edition of Zack and Miri Make a Porno. Fear not, however, as this is a seriously well put together package. Things kick off with "Popcorn Porn," a 75 minutes feature-length documentary on the production of the film. It's not a bad featurette and contains plenty of laughs, but is a little long-winded considering the length of the film it documents. The real meat of the set is in its numerous deleted scenes, bloopers and outtakes. There are a whopping 43 deleted scenes and 13 minutes worth of outtakes included; most of which are actually worth your time. My favorite feature was, without a doubt, "Seth vs. Justin: Battle for Improvisational Supremacy." Justin Long is, again, brilliant as he delivers line after hilarious line of witty retorts to an unable-to-keep-a-straight-face Seth Rogen. Given that Long was one of the standouts of the film, even considering his brief appearance, it's not a surprise that he steals the show again in the film's supplements package. 22 webisodes are also included on the disc; those that followed the film's production online will be in familiar territory. Finally, the cast's appearance on a 2008 Comic Con panel is included. Kevin Smith, the recent king of moderating Comic Con discussion panels, is always hilarious on stage. Those of you who have enjoyed his "An Evening with Kevin Smith" videos and appearances will get a kick out of his quick-witted antics. Zack and Miri Make a Porno delivers an excellent assortment of extra features that will entertain for hours. Highly recommended!
Zack and Miri Make a Porno Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Kevin Smith fans are sure to be thrilled with Zack and Miri Make a Porno. A few familiar faces from Smith's View Askiewniverse as well as a number of regular cast members from the Judd Apatow stable of comedies make for a potent combination of comedic absurdity. Jay Mewes and Justin Long deliver particularly memorable performances and manage to score some of the biggest laughs in the film. Zack and Miri Make a Porno is a film unafraid of being offensive or vulgar and is every bit the better movie because of it. The Weinstein Company has given the film an above average and pleasing video transfer, while the audio suffers from abnormally low volume. Fortunately, supplements are abundant and entertaining - - they offer a considerable amount of additional comedy apart from the film. Despite any flaws with the audio presentation, Zack and Miri Make a Porno comes highly recommended!
Zack and Miri Make a Porno: Other Editions
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Zack and Miri Make a Porno Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Lightning Deal: Zack and Miri Make a Porno Blu-ray $5.99 (Expired) - November 27, 2010
This Saturday, Amazon is having a Blu-ray lightning deal featuring a less than family friendly movie: Kevin Smith's Zack and Miri Make a Porno, which can now be had for $5.99 (70% off MSRP). This price expires at 4:30 p.m. PST, or when stock runs out.
• Today on Blu-ray - February 3rd - February 3, 2009
Kevin Smith is living the dream. His first film, 'Clerks', which he both wrote and directed, was made for under $30,000, yet managed to make 100 times that at the box office. Since then, he continues to write and direct his own films, has seen relative box office ...
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