First, let me be clear -- I love Kevin Smith movies. I love the concept of most of his movies and what he's done for a new generation, including Judd Apatow. That said, I was very disappointed by "Zack And Miri Make A Porno." We have a great cast, a great concept, and yet ... it just never comes together. As I walked out of the theater, I realized that in his third attempt to make a "commercial" movie, Smith had once again missed the mark. He simply doesn't have it in him to be anything but himself.
If you haven't seen him do a speaking engagement or the videos of these (I think there are two), you'll miss why his commercial movies don't work. It's because the guy simply can't be anything other than completely honest. The term "brutal" honesty is often cliche, but with Smith, it's who he is. From the subtle in-jokes about Bryan Singer and Judd Apatow to the dialogue that makes up most of the movie, it's pure Smith. He talks about being fat, his health problems in detail you wouldn't want from someone you knew, and the problems of his life because that's how he deals with it. In those moments, the film is true.
In others, it's not. The tacked on ending only reminds you of the line that "a film needs an ending." The presence of actual porn stars Katie Morgan and Traci Lords only reminds you that it's not an actual porn. The scenes of Pittsburgh only remind you that ... well, that something's just not right with this Kevin Smith film. It's not Jersey and therefore not really Smith. Hockey scene? A veritable deus ex machina for almost no payoff. Indian coffee shop owner? Same thing.
Nothing comes together, ironic in a film about coming together, in both senses. Is it a raunchy Apatow/Smith hybrid curse-fest comedy or a post-modern hard-luck love story? Smith didn't seem to know either. It is a great concept, on paper, but not on film. As I walked out, my friend said "I wish Judd Apatow had made it." For me, I wish Kevin Smith had.
Also, I did not need to see Jason Mewes like that. At all.