Seth Rogen pulls away from a barrage of successful Judd Apatow productions, to star in this expletive-ridden comedy from notorious potty mouth Kevin Smith (who was a boyhood hero of Rogen's). Apatow's films actually owe quite a bit to Smith's world, as Smith was one of the first to mix weed and fart jokes with endearing characters and sentimentality in the early '90s with Clerks and Mallrats. But while Apatow has enjoyed huge financial success, Smith has never made a film that grossed over $35 million - firmly remaining an alternative figure in Hollywood. The plot is simplicity personified; our titular characters and best friends Zack (Rogen) and Miri (Banks) make a porn film to pay off their enormous amount of debt, roping in friends and real-life porn star Traci Lords to help them along the way. Smith offers up a rake of sight gags in his usual crude manner, while Rogen and Banks are both predictably excellent, barely leaving breathing space between some of the gags. It's not without its flaws; every second word is a swear word, which does feel slightly excessive at points, and the 'three months later' conclusion is frustratingly conventional. But, in Smith's defence, the point here was to be funny - and he brings it (and then some) for the vast majority of the running time. Rogen may be the well-deserved new prince of comedy, but how Elizabeth Banks hasn't scaled the lofty heights of Hollywood yet is inexplicable and saddening. She has stunning comic timing, is beautiful, and more than holds her own with the riotous Rogen - no mean feat. Special mention to other Apatow regular Craig Robinson, playing the porno film's whipped producer, and Smith cohort Jason Mewes, for letting it all hang out. Juvenile and overtly explicit this may be, but Zack and Miri is a damned funny comedy with a heart.
Story by Mike Sheridan | 09:00 | Friday 20th March 2009 | DVD review