XXX-tant love

Zack and Mimi Make a Porno
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Platonic buds Zack (Seth Rogen) and Miri (Elizabeth Banks) live together, are completely devoted to each other, and yet loudly maintain that they are just friends — until they decide to sleep together on camera to pay off their debts. Oh, and sleep with other actors too, because that's what you do in a porno. Ah, nothing like white-hot jealousy to make a long-dormant heart start beating, eh?

Zack and Miri Make a Porno, Kevin Smith's latest, reminded me of his previous feature, 2006's Clerks II. It elicited the exact same equally powerful, and seemingly contradictory, reactions. During the film's first half, I guffawed at such moments as Zack and Miri's discussion about sex toys for men versus those for women, during which Zack refers to his ability to pleasure himself with the help of two Popsicle sticks and a rubber band, like "a filthy MacGyver." But the off-color hilarity is all but buried by the film's final third, which is full of typical romcom misunderstandings and mush. Writer-director Smith stands alone in his ability to create films that contain equal parts raunch and sap — and while Zack and Miri has a few shining moments, overall it never quite (ahem) comes together.

Zack and Miri Make a Porno opens Fri/31 in Bay Area theaters.

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