If your goal is to see Elizabeth Banks naked this weekend, invest in Photoshop because that’s the closest you’re going to get. I know I’m disappointed too. But that’s possibly one of the only letdowns of ‘Zack and Miri Make a Porno,” yet another hit to add to director Kevin Smith’s already formidable repertoire of comedies.

Be not mistaken, the film is, to quote Seth Rogen, ‘filthy.” There are some scenes that will make you wonder why you didn’t just look for some free porn online. But an excellent cast and engaging story line drive this movie along even when you feel awkward watching such a dirty movie in public.

The plot is surprisingly romantic. Zack (Seth Rogen) and Miri (Banks) have lived together for years and known each other for even longer when they hit rock bottom. And, being that neither has any special skills to offer, they decide that the easiest way to pay rent and possibly to get to know each other on a more personal level is to make a porno. The idea is inspired by Justin Long (‘Live Free or Die Hard,” Apple commercials), who makes an awesome cameo appearance early on in the movie (side note: don’t forget to stay after the credits for a closer glimpse into the lives of various porn stars).

Rogen and Banks have some awesome chemistry in this movie. Rogen himself is an obvious draw, with some of his recent movies ‘Knocked Up,” ‘Superbad” climbing to the top in my book (the only book that matters). Banks is no amateur, either. She’s well-known for her depiction of Zach Braff’s girlfriend in ‘Scrubs” and has appeared with Rogen before in ‘The 40-Year-Old Virgin.”

Rogen and Banks are what make ‘Zack and Miri” more than a 100-minute porno. They represent their characters genuinely Rogen fitting nicely as a lazy, witty, overweight guy and Banks as a woman who, after developing her good looks later on in life, continued to get along best with guys like Zack.

The tension between the two can, at some points, be fierce. As the movie progresses, it becomes continuously more obvious just how close Zack and Miri are. And, as the possible scene where the two friends have sex draws nearer, the audience can almost grasp the energy between them. Such intimacy is truly a testament to Banks and Rogen’s acting abilities.

On another note, I was equally excited for this movie due to the appearance of another TV favorite. Craig Robinson, best known for his portrayal of warehouse manager Darryl Philbin in the hilarious TV comedy, ‘The Office,” plays Delaney, Zack’s close friend from work and ardent supporter of Zack’s pornographic ambitions. I would have been excited even if Robinson had been no more than a stunt double in a dangerous porn scene just seeing him fills me with emotions I have whenever I imagine myself engaged to Pam Beasly.

Robinson had more than a minor part, and he fulfilled his role excellently in the coffee shop where he works, in scenes with pornography co-star ‘Bubbles” and in clich heart-to-hearts with Zack.

I was also quite happy to see that random little Indian dude from ‘The 40-Year-Old Virgin” you know, the one who can’t say a line without cursing. He has a trivial role in this movie as Zack and Delaney’s boss, but he performs well and gets in a few laughs while he’s on scene.

‘Zack and Miri” turns out to be a hilarious romantic comedy with porn splayed throughout. I don’t advise bringing your mom to any of the performances. I do, however, suggest you go see this movie, especially if you’ve watched ‘Legally Blonde” a thousand times, during each rendition hoping that, just once, Reese Witherspoon will magically take her shirt off.

Epstein is a member of the class of 2010.



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