Netflix Pick of the Week: Zack and Miri make a Porno

kevin smith zack miri

Lifelong friends and now roommates, Zack (Seth Rogen) and Miri (Elizabeth Banks) are buried under a mountain of debt. When the electricity is turned off, they realize that desperate times call for desperate measures. They decide to make an adult film to raise some cash. Though they swear that having sex will not damage their friendship, their business proposition quickly turns into something much more.

Fans of writer/director Kevin Smith (auteur of Dogma and Chasing Amy) should run to see Zack and Miri Make a Porno--the adored filmmaker has clearly made this with his hardcore following in mind. Zack (Seth Rogen, Knocked Up) and Miri (Elizabeth Banks, Slither) are longtime friends and housemates who, after their power and water get shut off, turn to pornography to pay their bills. After assembling a cheerful and perhaps dimwitted cast and crew, the hapless pair launch into their cynical yet heartwarming scheme with enthusiasm, only to discover--spoiler alert!--that they have feelings for each other. Smith clearly wanted to make a sex comedy with heart, something in the vein of The 40 Year Old Virgin.Unfortunately, Zack and Miri Make a Porno combines the mawkish, formulaic sentimentality of Jersey Girl with the belabored, formulaic sex gags of Clerks II. For a movie that clearly hearkens back to Smith's own experiences making the beloved and archetypally cheap-and-dirty Clerks, Zack and Miri Make a Porno is sadly generic and predictable. But Smith's fanbase will appreciate that the movie has snarky jokes about science fiction, a good dose of bare breasts (and two actual porn stars, Traci Lords and Katie Morgan), and the schlubby guy/hot chick dynamic that drives a thousand sitcoms. --Bret Fetzer

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