I’ve heard many stories about the behind the scenes problems which pushed the release of Fanboys back again and agin, but having just left a screening of the finished version, a director’s cut by Kyle Newman, I can assure you that the problems have been greatly exaggerated. You have a very marketable cast, and a film which seems like an extremely easy sell to the target demographic. I think the problem is that The Weinsteins were hoping for an American Pie type film with mainstream appeal, but they instead have a movie aimed at a very targeted niche. But lets not forget, George Lucas has been able to make tons of money off this targeted group of fans.
After high school, Eric (Sam Huntington) ditched his Star Wars fanboy friends for a job as a car salesman, and now finds himself ready to take over his father’s franchise of car dealerships. When he learns that one of his former best friends Linus (Chris Marquette) has been diagnosed with Cancer and only has months to live, he convinces his former friends (Dan Fogler, Jay Baruchel) to go on a road trip to break into George Lucas’ Skywalker Ranch, so that Linus could watch Star Wars: Episode I before he dies.
The film is your typical teen road trip film, laced with so many Star Wars references you’ll probably want to see it twice to take them all in. There are conversations about how Boba Fett is like Michael Bay, style but no substance, and arguments about if Luke really had a thing for his sister. The series of adventures include a stop in Riverside Iowa (the future birthplace of Captain Kirk) to fuck with Trekkies. Kristen Bell plays Zoe, a girl with feisty Princess Leia-like attitude who works at a comic book store, and is well versed in everything from Star Wars to video games. Basically, she’s a fanboys wet dream.
Seth Rogen has triple duty, playing a trekkie (who seems perfectly modeled after Gabriel Köerner from Trekkies), a Star Wars tattooed pimp, and a Star Trek alien who they run into while in Las Vegas. At one point in the film, one version of Seth Rogen fights another version of Seth Rogen on the big screen. Epic! Ethan Suplee plays Ain’t It Cool News’ Harry Knowles, and there is a bevy of other cameos which include Billy Dee Williams, Danny Trejo, Kevin Smith, Jason Mewes, Craig Robinson, Lou Taylor Pucci, Carrie Fisher, Danny McBride, and William Shatner playing himself. Ray Park (Darth Maul) even has a cameo as a THX security guard.
The film is not perfect, nor is it even on par with the best the teen comedy genre has to offer. Some of the problems include a kid dying of cancer who shows very little (if any) signs of sickness, a poorly developed romantic subplot, and a scene in a gay biker bar which should have been completely exorcised from the completed film. Oh, and Dan Fogler is painfully annoying. If only they had cast Jonah Hill or Tyler Labine instead. But the target audience of Star Wars fanboys and comic book geeks will surely eat it up. In it’s best moments it is a love letter to fandom and friendship.
I have a theory that Kevin Smith’s Zack and Miri Make a Porno is actually just a chronology of Smith’s career so far as a filmmaker. The film starts off much like Clerks, with Seth Rogen trying to wake up for his dreadful job. Minutes later he is walking through the local mall with his roommate and best friend Miri, played by Elizabeth Banks, in a scene that is reminiscent of Mallrats. The high school reunion sequence that follows feels oh so Chasing Amy. And when Zack and Miri must band together with a group of misfits to make a porno, I’m reminded of both Dogma and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. And the last 30 minutes of Zack and Miri is more like a conventional romantic comedy, like Jersey Girl.
I got a chance to screen this film a few months ago, before the MPAA appeal hearing had taken place. When I told Smith my theory on the film, he replied “Congrats, sir – you’re the first person to say, what to me, is so blatantly obvious. It’s not a movie about porn, really: it’s a movie about how we made Clerks.” And I think that says everything you really need to know about Zack and Miri.
One of the reoccurring stories found in the teen films from the 80′s and 90′s is that of the dork or geek who is hopelessly in love with his best friend. She is a cute looking girl, probably out of his league, who has an asshole jock boyfriend and is completely ignorant to the fact that her sole-mate might actually be her best friend. Usually those 80′s teen films end with the realization. You know, the one that usually never happens in real life.
I would like to think that Zack and Miri takes place a decade after that unresolved story. Zack works in a coffee shop, and is currently living with his best friend Miri, whose good looks got her only as far as a job in the local mall. They are struggling to pay the rent. With their electricity turned off, they get an idea from a chance meeting at their High School reunion to raise money by creating a porno. The theory is that at least everyone in their high school class would pay to see it. This leads to without-a-doubt, the funniest Star Wars reference from Smith yet. I’m not sure how they accomplished so much under the guise of parody, but regardless, the entire sequence is hilarious. I wonder what George Lucas must think.
The first 30 minutes of the film is the funniest half-hour Smith has ever written/directed. As a studio executive would say, there are more laughs per a minute in the first third, than probably any of Smith’s previous films. Thank god Smith won the MPAA appeal, as the 14 frame, half a second shot is the equivalent of the hair-gel moment from “There’s Something About Mary”.
The Office’s Craig Robinson completely steals every scene he appears in. And Jason Mewes is more than just a pleasant surprise, delivering one of the biggest laughs of the entire film. Traci Lords and Katie Morgan will make you wonder why more porn actresses haven’t crossed over to the Hollywood mainstream. Cinematographer David Klein takes the visuals to the next level. It’s hard to believe this is the same guy who shot Clerks?
If there is any downside, it is that the film transitions from laugh out loud comedy to romantic dramedy in the last act, which might be too abrupt for some. But I think that by that point in the story you have come to care about the story of Zack and Miri enough to go through the transitional tone.
Bottom line is that Zack and Miri is the funniest film of 2008, and quite possibly the most fucked up romantic comedy ever to hit the big screen.
Update: The movie poster above was not approved by the MPAA, and will be used to promote the film in Canada. [via: EW]
The official red band movie trailer for Kevin Smith‘s Zack and Miri Make a Porno has been released online. If there was any more that required a red band movie trailer, it is Zack and Miri. We get the big reveal of the porno movie within the movie, Star Whores, the genius that is The Office’s Craig Robinson, the amazing evolving cinematography of David Klein (who woulda thought the same guy shot Clerks?!) and Traci Lord’s secret talent.
The film premieres at the Toronto International Film Festival next week, but I might’ve gotten a chance to see the film a little while back. The only thing I will say is the first 30 minutes of Zack and Miri has more laughs per minute than any of Smith’s films thus far. As always, please leave your opinion in the comments below!
Zack and Miri Make a Porno hits theaters on October 31st 2008.
Kevin Smith has updated his fans on the post-production of his latest, Zack and Miri Make a Porno. Kevin revealed that the 110-page shooting draft resulted in a first cut that was “over two and a half” hours long. 25 minutes have since hit the cutting room floor, and Smith gives us the following update:
“At one a.m. this morning, I finally got the flick down to an even two hours (there is, however, and additional four minute epilogue that runs during the credits, but that doesn’t count at the moment). Two hours is the length I was gunning for for the [internal test] screening. This is not to say the theatrical running time will be two hours or anything close to it. But two hours is a good starting mark in advance of the standard test screening process. The aim is to use said [test] screening to look for other cuts – because right now, the fat’s trimmed away; any further cuts are all about story and jokes, and I’d rather a mass audience reaction let me know how much is needed/what can go.” “Carla and Scott will watch it today. Marketing people watch it Monday (though more for their print campaign than to offer cut suggestions).”
Smith says the longest the theatrical cut will be is “Maybeâ€¦ maybeâ€¦ two hours with credits”, which would be long for a comedy (so I’m guessing he’s aiming for 100-110 minutes).
The “poster shoot for Rogen and Banks in mid-April (everyone else has been shot already, while we were still in production). I imagine the poster will be up by June/July.” Smith doubts that he’ll be screening the whole film at Comic Con in July where he is likely to make an appearance (with footage in hand). Kevin is thinking of cutting a few internet teaser trailers, so we might not have to wait until August 8th (Pineapple Express) to see some footage from the movie.
The score will be comprised of a mix of existing songs and porno-style soundtrack. As for the performances, Smith admits that neither him or producing partner Scott Mosier appear on screen during Z&M. On Jeff Anderson, who played the smart-ass Randal in Clerks, Smith reveals “His character can be a smart-ass, and in the flick, he is a friend; yet I’d be hard-pressed to describe his role as the smart-ass funny friend. I don’t know how I’d describe him in the flick, except to say he’s one of the wack pack.”
As for friend and returning cast member Jason Mewes (the Jay of Jay and Silent Bob), Kevin claims “it was actually the role Mewes was born to play, in a weird way. Even moreso than Jay.” Also, Kevin would “be surprised if” Porn star Katie Morgan didn’t get some more mainstream films because of her part in Zack and Miri.
“She’s pretty funny in the flick. When Harvey watched the first few cut scenes and met Katie, he said “Holy shit, she’s Judy Holliday.”
When questioned about the announced October 31st release date, Smith hinted that it could change due to 007 (which hits theaters one week later on November 7th).
“Now that the Bond movie has moved up, who knows? If it’s gonna move, it’s only because Bond just moved up. ’til the squeamish tell me differently, it’s 10/31.”
In Kevin Smith‘s new movie Zack and Miri Make a Porno, Elizabeth Banks has sex with Seth Rogen (or so we assume from the title. Sarah Silverman‘s music video “I’m F*cking Matt Damon” resulted in Jimmy Kimmel’s response “I’m F*cking Ben Affleck“. Kevin Smith has figured out a genius way to capitalize on this recent viral craze to promote his new movie, and has released the first parody with Elizabeth Banks singing “I’m Fucking Seth Rogen”.
It doesn’t have the production values and superstar cameos, but is laugh out loud funny. The video features cameos from Zack and Miri co-stars Jason Mewes, Traci Lords, Craig Robinson, Jeff Anderson, Katie Morgan and Ricky Mabe. Watch the NSFW video below.
Kevin Smith has announced the supporting cast for Zack and Miri Make a Porno, kinda. Actually, he’s uploaded a bunch of photos of eye close-ups as a tease. The View Askew fans are on the case, trying to match up headshots to the teaser photos.
Who are these six actors/actresses? Find out at least four of them after the jump.
Kevin Smith has recently revealed a few minor new details about his upcoming comedy Zack and Miri Make a Porno. Interestingly enough, Smith will be returning to the place where he filmed Dogma almost exactly ten years ago. As it turns out, they will be shooting the movie over 40-days in Pittsburgh instead of the planned/scripted Minnesota locale. Why?
“Cheaper to shoot in Boston, Connecticut and Pittsburgh right now. We opted for Pittsburgh.”
Smith also revealed that the forty some-odd day shoot will be done both in studio and on location. Smith has also decided to shoot the movie on 35mm instead of digital. I’m assuming that if Smith’s Red State happens, it will probably be shot on the latter (but that’s just an assumption).
And casting? Smith says the names will probably become public knowledge in the next couple weeks. Kevin has recently confirmed that Jason Mewes is in the movie, and for the first time in View Askew history, he will not be playing “Jay” of infamous duo “Jay and Silent Bob”.