Friends with benefits

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Unlike his more poignant movies about lesbians falling for male comic-book artists and the last scion of Christ battling a giant poop monster for the fate of the world, Kevin Smith's Zack and Miri Make a Porno is refreshingly simple.

Buried beneath dozens of overdue bills, childhood friends and roommates Zack (Seth Rogen) and Miri (Elizabeth Banks) are already starting to lose their apartment's heat, electricity and water and are in danger of being evicted.

Inspired by a chance meeting with the gay porn star boyfriend (an uncomfortable cameo by Justin Long) of Miri's old high school crush, the two decide to earn some quick cash by filming their own amateur skin flick.

As is the usual with Smith, Zack and Miri is high on the immaturity, quick with the inappropriate -- Dogma's not the only Smith film to make scatological jokes -- and consistent with the hysterical. The movie will rub a lot of people the wrong way, but past the F-bombs and nudity is a lot of heart, especially when the title pair decides to test their friendship by starring in a scene together.

While Smith might be the engineer of the film, Rogen and Banks really bring it to life. They have a natural chemistry that sells the lifelong friendship and its subsequent alteration. It's clear they're having fun with this raunchy picture and, thankfully, we get to enjoy it too.

"Zack and Miri Make a Porno"