Zack and Miri Make a Porno Movie Poster Image

Zack and Miri Make a Porno

(i)

 

Explicit Kevin Smith comedy isn't sexy or funny.
  • Review Date: October 30, 2008
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2008
  • Running Time: 101 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The message that making a porno will solve money problems is obviously problematic. The movie seems to be saying that sex and love and friendship are very different and complicated things.

Positive role models

No parent would want their kids to be doing what the main characters are doing here. However, the lead characters' relationship goes from friendship to sex to love with some sincere (if profane) discussions of what all three mean.

Violence

A punch is thrown in the course of a hockey game, earning the offender a penalty. Some use of phrases like "Take it!" during sex scenes.

Sex

Constant explicit vulgar sexual references and situations, including frequent full-frontal male and female nudity, sexual acts depicted on screen, references to sex acts, and extensive discussions of heterosexual and homosexual activity in explicit terms. Discussion of the challenges of making adult films; discussion of the difference between sex and love, and between fidelity and promiscuity. Sex toys simulating portions of male and female anatomy are discussed or shown on-screen. Kissing. Promiscuous sex with multiple partners, with no mention of contraception or safer sex practices. A scene is set at a strip club. A woman blows a soap bubble with, presumably, her genitals. Discussion of sexual arousal, sexual techniques, and sexual practices.

Language

Pretty much every extremely profane term there is. Constant explicit vulgar sexual references.

Consumerism

Extensive mention of pop culture figures and celebrities, including Oprah, Rosie O'Donnell, Meryl Streep, and more. The filmmaking group's first effort is a pornographic film inspired by the Star Wars series, so there are multiple references to (and naughty variations on) Star Wars character names and plot lines. Films and TV shows mentioned include Amistad, Gandhi, Glenngarry Glen Ross, Buck Rogers, To Catch a Predator, MacGyver, Highlander, Hannah Montana, The Wiz, Girls Gone Wild, Brokeback Mountain, Mad magazine, Ziggy, Spider-Man,Pretty Woman, Sleeping with the Enemy, and Lost. Brands visible on-screen include Mac computers; brands mentioned include Ronald McDonald, Jergens, Nickelodeon, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Ex-Lax, DreamWorks, YouTube, and more.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Characters drink hard liquor and beer and smoke cigarettes. Characters talk about hoping to drink until they get "alcohol poisoning" and how "I'm gonna binge drink until I black out." Drinking games are played.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this Kevin Smith comedy about amateur porn filmmakers -- which was rated R on appeal after initially receiving an NC-17 -- is packed with coarse, crude language and situations, including explicit depictions of sex acts and full-frontal nudity. Characters are seen having sex with people they don't know very well, with no mention of safe-sex practices or contraception. In one of the film's more over-the-top sight gags, a character filming a sex scene is sprayed with feces. Language includes every four-letter word under the sun and them some, and there are plenty of body part/function terms and racial/sexual epithets as well. Two homosexual characters (one of whom is portrayed very flamboyantly) are shown in a loving, committed relationship.

What's the story?

ZACK AND MIRI MAKE A PORNO may have the most straightforward plot-to-title relationship of any film this year. It follows lifelong friends and roommates Zack (Seth Rogen) and Miri (Elizabeth Banks) who, in desperate financial need, decide that they'll solve their money problems by making their own pornographic film. Assembling a rag-tag group to work on both sides of the camera, Zack and Miri deal with the setbacks of filmmaking and worry about how their sex scene is going to affect their friendship. They tell themselves it's "just sex" -- but is sex ever "just sex"? And what if it isn't?

Is it any good?

QUALITY

Zack and Miri Make a Porno is a prime example of what happens when a filmmaker creates a movie based solely on a premise without thinking about plot or plausibility or personality. As Zack and Miri strive and struggle to film their money-making porno, they tackle their feelings for each other; at the same time, we're not given much reason to care about them. Kevin Smith's films (Clerks, Chasing Amy, and more) have always wrapped personal connection in potty talk and pop-culture references, but the mix feels off in Zack and Miri Make a Porno. It's as if he felt that throwing around more graphic sex and explicit language would make up for a paper-thin plot. (If Zack and Miri really need money, why not just get better jobs, or a loan? If Zack and Miri are directing and creating the film with other actors, why do they have to have sex at all?)

There are a few high points in the movie -- or at least points higher than the sex scenes and scatological humor. Rogen is still a likeable screen presence, and he manages to convey how Zack's filmmaking adventure brings out a sense of ambition and personal effort that his normal life working as a coffee barista lacked. Banks doesn't get as interesting a character arc -- we're never even told what Miri does for a living -- but her natural charm still shines through. But moments aren't movies, and Zack and Miri Make a Porno seems awfully self-satisfied; Smith has never filmed a script he didn't write, and -- like many writer-directors -- it's possible he may not be the best judge of his own work. Zack and Miri may be selling itself as a sexy, crazy, controversial comedy, but there's no steak to go along with the sizzle.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the hard-to-negotiate differences between sex, love, and friendship. What does this movie have to say about all three?

  • Talk about the popularity of raunchy comedies -- why do you think these kinds of movies have become so prevalent? Does this reflect a new openness about sex or an anything-goes permissiveness that cheapens real sexuality?

  • Talk about why people make pornography -- and why people watch it.

Movie details

Theatrical release date:October 31, 2008
DVD release date:February 3, 2009
Cast:Elizabeth Banks, Jason Mewes, Seth Rogen
Director:Kevin Smith
Studio:Weinstein Co.
Genre:Comedy
Run time:101 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:strong crude sexual content including dialogue, graphic nudity and pervasive language.

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 12 years old November 19, 2011

who cares

It's not that bad! Think about it your kids are at home, and 12. What do they do? They watch porn. It may be hard to believe for the strict parents out there but watching porn and having sexual arousals are part of growing up and realizing that stuff like this is good. Its LIFE GET OVER IT!
Teen, 16 years old Written byKimmX May 22, 2011
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Kid, 12 years old June 8, 2010

ADULTS ONLY

IT is EXTREMLY innapropriate I have not seen it but i just know
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

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