Elaine at the movies

Elaine Blum

To satisfy your curiosity right off the bat: Yes, you really do see quite a bit of nudity and, well, interaction in this movie. What else can I safely say about a movie with “porno” in the title without getting censored?
Kevin Smith’s title cleverly sums up the basis for the movie: two long-time friends — just good friends — have no money to pay the bills and decide to make a pornographic film in order to make some cash. And of course, just like any other boy-girl movie, the two friends ultimately learn their deeper feelings for each other.
It is amazing how something so predictable can result from such a unique premise. Not only is it disappointingly predictable, but there are tacky clichés. I had to roll my eyes when Miri moonily hugs herself when she realizes there’s “something there” between her and Zack. The action is just too reminiscent of countless other movies where the girl swoons over a boy. This foreshadows the predictable, picture-perfect, emotional ending that somehow does not fit with the rest of the movie. Not to ruin it for you, but the guy gets the girl. Duh.
And perhaps this is part of the art of the movie, that it creates something so identifiable amidst such unusual circumstances. Perhaps, but I think they could have managed being identifiable without resorting to clichés.
Other than its predictable clichés and overuse of obscenities, the premise, at least, manages to be thought-provoking. Why is it that we have four sequels to “Saw,” each of which we freely over-advertise, but we shy away from mentioning the full title of “Zack and Miri” just because it has the word “porno” in it? Why is it that many Americans eagerly desensitize themselves to violence and gore, but we typically cringe at the mere mention of sexuality?
In the past week I have seen an abundance of posters for “Saw V.” You would have to pay me a great deal of money just to see five minutes of it. But at the same time, many billboards and bus stops — even in big cities such as Chicago — refuse to advertise for “Zack and Miri Make a Porno” lest it offend someone. Let’s try to be a little more open-minded. At least movies about sexuality are not liable to give anyone nightmares. This columnist, at least, would rather discuss sex in lieu of creepy violence or gore.
So, to the point: Is this movie worth seeing? Sure. I am not sure how soon I will need to see it again, but it mainly satisfied my viewing pleasure. Yes, the dialogue has a lot of obscenities and yes, the subject matter is — gasp! — sex. However, there are several quotable lines and it manages to be quite funny instead of just uncomfortable. One final word to the wise: If the movie’s conclusion is too disappointingly predictable, make sure to watch through the end of the credits.