Category Archives: zack and miri make a porno

The Amateurs

The Amateurs ~ When I first heard about this film, I thought, isn’t that essentially the plot of Kevin Smith’s Zack and Miri Make a Porno? I was even more surprised to find it was made in 2005. Of course it couldn’t possibly be as good as the Smith flick, but it does take a slightly different slant.

Here, Jeff Bridges is a small town entrepreneur who convinces his neighbors to make an amateur porno to make money. This is a film powered by its quirky characters that is reminiscent of old school things like the old Don Knotts films or Norman Lear’s Cold Turkey. Ted Danson is especially amusing here.

The flick has a certain naïveté and charm that the Smith film lacked. This aspect is refreshing and adds to the comedy. Imagine Andy Griffith meets Kevin Smith. Yikes. Ahem, well, imagine it if you can. Check it out, it’s a feel good, fun watch, if a bit predictable in parts, but fun.

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A Couple of Dicks

Cop Out ~ This is the second time (that I know of) that Kevin Smith has been cock-blocked over a movie title. First Zack and Miri Make a Porno was trimmed to Zack and Miri for family viewing advertising purposes. This time, the entire title has been changed, from the funny and on-the-nose A Couple of Dicks to the ridiculous Cop Out. Although, in hindsight, this might be a better title for the finished product, and I don’t mean that in a bad way. The title is indicative of the genre it’s paying homage to.

This is the film that Smith talked about in great detail when I saw him in Philly a few months back, at the time tentatively called A Couple of Dicks. Smith talked about how Bruce Willis knew what he was doing, had been doing it for years and wouldn’t let Kevin direct him. It shows on the screen. But maybe it was intentional.

Cop Out comes off both as a relic of the 1980s buddy cop movies, and as a perfect homage to those same 1980s buddy cop movies. And Bruce Willis is a veteran of that era, and a master of the genre. Smith uses Willis’ reluctance to be directed and his experience to the film’s advantage. Willis’ solo scenes, along with those of the flick’s villains, are right out of the target decade. Smith might as well as recruited the bad guys from an old Steven Seagal cop movie. One of the good ones, that is.

The sound of the flick is also unique and homage. Kevin Smith wisely utilized not only 1980s and 80s-type tunage for the film but also brought Harold Faltermeyer, composer of the Beverly Hills Cop films among others, out of retirement to do the score. Brilliant. Despite the current day trappings of the Cullen brothers script, the soundtrack never lets you forget what it is you’re watching.

Kevin Smith actual direction surprised me. He’s very good at action despite what he himself says. There are scenes that surprise with their effectiveness, like the backwards car chase and the gunfight at the end. All very eighties, mind you, but effective. Smith’s movement is fluid and quick-cut all at once, and it’s a good thing. I’d really like to see his Green Hornet or Fletch now after seeing this.

Tracy Morgan is hill-larry-us as his hype promises, and the highlight of the film. Seann William Scott is fun whenever he’s on screen (perhaps he should be more in a sequel, hint hint) and the cameos by Susie Essman and Jim Norton are a hoot. And any predictability, clichés or monotony of the 1980s buddy cop genre that are present are elevated by the considerable talent of Willis, Morgan and Smith. Great flick and fun night at the movies.

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Zack and Miri Make a Porno

Zack and Miri Make a Porno ~ All the hype about taking the “porno” out of the title and the advertising and even the movie listings aside, this is actually a rather sweet film from Kevin Smith – or at least as sweet as Kevin Smith gets. It seems that as much as making the critically panned but well-intentioned Jersey Girl and visiting familiar turf in Clerks 2 with a eye towards fun rather than gloom, has mellowed Smith – it also seems that the presence of Seth Rogen has invigorated him. Formerly Smith stayed within his own bounds and used the same entourage of folks in his films, but Rogen (and Elizabeth Banks as well) has brought the new blood and the new vision needed to make this Smith effort that much more entertaining. Craig Robinson and Superman Returns‘ Brandon Routh, as well as Smith alumni Jeff Anderson are priceless. A great film (for fans of Smith), and hopefully the start of a new partnership.

Coming Very Soon

2006’s Casino Royale was a fantastic action flick, and a serious return and restart for the James Bond franchise. If I had one nitpick about it, it would be that it was missing the wit and wry sense of humor the Bond films had developed over the years. While it’s true it wasn’t something that was a major part of Ian Fleming’s books, it was sorely missing in that film. I’m guessing that it will definitely be gone in this second installment, Quantum of Solace, a Fleming story in name only, with James out for revenge. So very unBond-like.