In essence, Kevin Smith is telling off Judd Apetow with this movie. Kevin Smith practically invented the kind of comedy Apetow has been using in all his movies, and now that Smith has cast Seth Rogen he is essentially making another Apetow movie without Apetow. Unfortunately for the audience, this movie lacks both Smith’s trademark wit and Apetow’s trademark relatability. Relatability is exactly what this film needs.

Honestly I am not much of a fan of Kevin Smith, so maybe I am a little biased, but I still don’t understand how he can get away with characters that are essentially big question marks. Often a character will say or do something totally random and not connected with the scene at all, only for a laugh or two. Sure, I understand that this can be funny at times, and is indeed the basis behind much of Smith’s comedy, but really, it sidetracks from the plot and character development. In other words, comedy not derived from the plot is essentially the easy way out, and this movie is plagued with it.

Synopsis: Zack Brown and Miriam Linky are roomates. Dirt poor roomates who are dirt poor because they spend their money on stupid things that they don’t need instead of things they do need…like the electric bill or something(strike one for relatability). They both went to the same highschool and in essence are both complete losers. While attending a high school reunion, Zach meets a gay porn star and learns about how easy it is to make money by making porn. As a result, this gives Zach the idea of making a porn movie for money…instead of getting a better job or something (strike two for relatability). Miriam is coerced into doing it and with the financial backing of Zach’s coworker Delaney, they start production. Of course, everything doesn’t go as smoothly as they planned; difficulties with money, difficulties with location, difficulties with equiptment, and most importantly difficulties since Zach and Miriam will have to have sex with eachother and until then it was strictly a platonic relationship between them. They think that nothing will change between them if they have sex for money and go into the situation trying to play it off as nothing….instead of talking about it or something (strike three for relatability). I’m not going to give away anything else, but the movie is pretty predictable except for a couple of unexpected (and totally random) twists.

Acting: Seth Rogen (Pineapple Express) plays his typical lovable loser roll as Zack, and does a typical good job. I thought that other actors might have been funnier in some situations because he can be so akward at times, but overall I think he was well cast. Elizabeth Banks (Role Models) does a great job as Miriam. She shows that she can be both funny and sincere, even when the movie gets akward. Craig Robinson (TV’s The Office) plays Delaney, and is fairly competant. I thought that a more aggressive or overbearing person playing his role might have been funnier in more than one way. Besides those three, the remaining characters are basically side shows, displaying the many rediculous and perverted characters who would agree to be in a porn movie. Last, Justin Long appears in a cameo as the gay porn star and he is hilarious. Easily the best (and funniest) part of the movie. It is a shame his character only appears once and for such a short period of time.  (18/25)

Script/Plot: The plot is predictable, at times goes no where, and can be very offensive at times. Don’t see this movie if you’re not prepared to squirm either, as it can get pretty raunchy and akward at times…definately more than was needed in parts. The biggest problem is the randomness of the script. At times, it just seems like a barrage of unexpected lines trying to get you to laugh. The characters both say and do things inconsistent with the plot. This creates a layer of fluff (i.e. nothing important) that hides the real story of the film, the relationship between Zach and Miri. I’m still not sure what the message of the film is, but the things that Zach and Miri learn about eachother in the process is definately the best part. (15/25)

Direction: Kevin Smith does know how to create tones in his scenes with color, lighting, and close ups/wide shots. The scenes depicting Zack and Miri’s money situation are all dark and dungy, while the scenes showing Zack and Miri “being productive” are bright and cheery. As you can probably tell though, much of this film is dark, both visually and in tone, especially because so many of the minor characters are bitter and distraught. But again, that is a Kevin Smith trademark. (23/25)

Music/Editing/X-Factor: The X-Factor of this movie is its use of sexual related humor. That can either turn you on to this movie or turn you off. As I said before, they might have taken it too far in some parts, and its not nearly as funny as you might imagine, but when tackling suck a rediculous premise you kind of expect that. I don’t really remember much of the music, and there are a few montage scenes with slick editing, so I’ll just say that the movie is passable in those catagories. (16/25)

The Verdict: 

What Kept Me Watching It: It definately doesn’t lack Kevin Smith’s trademark wit, or his underlying endearing messages. It made me laugh at times.

What Killed It: It definetely doesn’t lack Kevin Smith’s trademark random attempts at making you laugh, or his ability to go too far at times. It was akward at times.

Summary: A rediculous take on a rediculous premise that ends up not needing to be so rediculous.

Final Rating: (72/100) C-