Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A Week of Kevin Smith, Part Four - "Zack and Miri Make a Porno"

I like Zack and Miri. It's a fun little film that, while not profound, is certainly funny and sweet. It's one of those movies that makes me laugh a lot, has very touching moments juxtaposed against all the filth, and has a solid cast.

Unfortunately, there was too much improv. In a movie edited by Kevin Smith. The man who cuts his movies down to the bone. Some moments just feel like they are almost there. They are funny scenes, no doubt, but they never quite achieve the hilarious bliss they are trying for. And that's a real disappointment. Because there was a lot of great things in this film, but they didn't quite make it the entire distance.

I like improv. So don't get me wrong when I say there is too much. It's just that it clashes with Smith's style I think. A word that can easily describe Smith is minimalist. He seems to like circumstances that are extreme or crazy, but his presentation has always been one that is almost stage theatre, but shortened for those who like brevity. He doesn't like to indulge too much, and it shows. I get it. I appreciate that he's thinking of the viewer's time. But sometimes it kills the talented improv work of all on board. And unlike an Apatow film (I take every chance I can to bad mouth Apatow) there is great context and story to serve as foundation for the actors' comedy.

I think if there's a place Smith could be a little bolder with his movies is the length. Especially now that he's doing movies basically without a studio system, he should take a chance on making his movies a little longer. The biggest appeal of his films is his characters and his fictional worlds. We as viewers like spending time with these characters. So let us spend a little more time with them. I know they make for great DVD extras, and View Askew DVD's are if nothing else liberal with special features, but I like to see the entirety of the story, in context and with the narrative.

The premise is in the title, which I appreciate. The movie recognizes it's simplicity and then allows the characters to really dwell in that crazy universe for a while. Of course, all the tropes of people finding what's already in front of them, finding new loves, and all that jazz is present, and it's fine, if a little by the books. But we like seeing it, and it's not a journey that needs too many twists and turns.

Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks are great in this film. Not to belittle anyone else, because every single character had a richness to them that I appreciated. Even Brandon Routh and Justin Long, who could have their freaking movie, were a story unto themselves. But I genuinely liked Rogen and Banks, and I found their romance believable, though I could have used a little more back story. But that's not how Smith rolls. And I understand.

It's not a perfect movie, but I don't understand the hate, particularly from Smith fans. I know many people actually do like the movie, and I'm glad to hear that, but some people, with the exception of those who generally don't like this kind of humor (and that's fine) hate on this movie for stupid reasons.

I for one am glad he made this. There are things I didn't like, of course. But it was a fun film, and an easy watch, and easily fits in the Smith filmography.


Brit W.

10. Jersey Girl
9. Cop Out
8. Dogma
7. Zack and Miri Make a Porno
6. ?
5. ?
4. ?
3. ?
2. ?
1. ?

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