Amateur Hour: Zack and Miri Make a Porno

By robbiefreeling | REVERSEBLOG: the reverse shot blog November 3, 2008 at 4:28AM

Amateur Hour: Zack and Miri Make a Porno
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Kevin Smith’s career is one of the mysteries of American film culture. He’s eight movies into his career—eight!—and he has shown zero progress. How does a man who has no idea how to frame or light a shot, or structure a screenplay, or write a convincing conversation, or direct actors continue to be a mainstay of indie cinema? Perhaps the charge is unfair, as I haven’t been his most diligent follower. After 1999’s Dogma, an ugly, lame, and utterly stupid movie inexplicably hailed by some, I gave up on Smith, the goodwill left over from 1994’s Clerks—a revelation for this teenage New Jerseyan new to film geekdom—all exhausted.

But if Zack and Miri Make a Porno is anything to go by, I’ve missed nothing. Unabashedly riding the Judd Apatow wave, Smith’s latest is this month’s high-concept raunchfest-with-a-heart-of-gold—a genre that’s had a good run but like a limping thoroughbred now needs to be put out of its misery. Lifelong friends and roommates Zack and Miri, barely eking it out in the Bush economy, decide to solve their financial woes by making a porno starring themselves and an assortment of freaks. Bridging that set-up and their inevitable coupling is a rough draft of a script, a patchwork succession of pointless bantering, gross-out gags, time-killing montages, spoon-feeding exposition, and idiotic contrivances. I’d be more specific, but since Smith doesn’t sweat the details, I’ll spare you them as well.

Click here to read the rest of Elbert Ventura's review of Zack and Miri Make a Porno.