There's more than one way to make a buck
A couple of days ago I received a 20th anniversary class reunion notice from the college I attended. Twenty years! I mean, what happened? Just yesterday I was worried about having enough beer in the fridge for the weekend and now I'm worried about the stability of global money markets. Half my life just passed by and I barely noticed.
I had my twentieth high school reunion a couple years ago and like most nostalgic situations, the event turned out to be mildly entertaining. I took note of the physical incidentals: who still had hair, who had gained weight, who got better looking. But mostly I was intrigued by how my classmate's personalities had remained virtually unchanged.
Early in the evening most people handed around photos of their children and waxed about their careers. As the night wore on, however (and the alcohol loosened up inhibitions), the flirty ones started flirting more, the annoying ones started annoying more, and the entertaining ones started entertaining more.
One of the classmates I found most interesting was a guy I barely knew back in school. After graduation he apparently left town, learned to play the bass guitar, and ended up in a metal band in Los Angeles where he hung around with Guns N' Roses and Poison. After a stint with heroin he got into personal training where he became a trainer to the stars. Today he lives with an elderly heiress in a posh New York penthouse. Talk about living!
That classmate's story was intriguing but it still doesn't reach the level intrigue presented by the two characters in this week's feature, "Zack and Miri Make a Porno."
Zack and Miri are two high school friends who are on their way to a class reunion. The usual nervousness ensues as they prepare for the emotional onslaught but nothing can prepare them for the immense feelings of inadequacy they feel after seeing how most of their classmates have moved on. Their insecurities are heightened when they return home to find their utilities turned off. At that point they realize they have to do something with their lives before they end up homeless. The get-rich-quick answer? Make a porno.
Director Kevin Smith has built his career on low budget, offbeat comedies that feature profanity-laced dialogue. His newest offering is no exception. In fact, "Zack and Miri Make a Porno" builds off Smith's standard delivery by injecting a heavy dose of physical sexuality. In other words, this is not a film you want your children to see.
I'm starting to wonder if Kevin Smith is ever going to get tired of this shtick. He's made valid attempts at more mainstream films in the past, but he always seems most comfortable shocking people with incredibly profane speeches. The interesting thing is that I've yet to meet a real person in this world who can drop three f-bombs in one sentence and actually have something intelligent to say. In Smith's world, everyone's dialogue is a combination of Lenny Bruce and Plato - unique and interesting but hardly believable.
If you enjoyed "Clerks," "Dogma," and "Chasing Amy," then you'll probably slide comfortably into this picture. The interplay between the characters is identical with the addition of some extreme sexual content. Plan on bypassing this one, however, if you are easily offended. The shock far outweighs the comedy. A perverse "C+" for "Zack and Miri Make a Porno."
Dom's Video Pick of the Week: As Good As It Gets
There are few films I could watch 100 times, but "As Good As It Gets" is definitely one of them.
The story revolves around an obsessive/compulsive writer and the waitress he becomes enamored with. Starring Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt, "As Good As It Gets" is a masterpiece of acting, dialogue, and direction. This fact was confirmed by seven Oscar nominations, with Nicholson and Hunt walking away with both Best Actor awards.
Check this one out if you have never experienced the genius of these characters. And if you have seen it, make it a point watch it again. This is one story that never gets old.
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