REVIEW: VERONICA MARS (MOVIE)

CAST

Kristen Bell (Frozen)
Jason Dohring (The Originals)
Krysten Ritter (Jessica Jones)
Ryan Hansen (2 Broke Girls)
Francis Capra (heroes)
Percy Daggs III (Izombie)
Chris Lowell (Enlisted)
Tina Mojorino (Santa Fe)
Enrico Colantoni (Powers)
Gaby Hoffmann (Wild)
Jerry O’Connell (Sliders)
Brandon Hillock (Villains)
Martin Starr (Spider-Man: Homecoming)
Ken Marino (Agent Carter)
Max Greenfield (New Girl)
Amanda Noret (City Guys)
Daran Norris (Izombie)
Sam Huntington (Superman Returns)
Duane Daniels (Murder on Vine)
Lisa Thornhill (Rush Hour 3)
Christine Lakin (Family Guy)
Jamie Lee Curtis (Scream Queens)
Justin Long (Mom)
Dax Shepard (Hit and Run)
James Franco (Spider-Man)
Eddie Jemison (IZombie)
Jessica Camacho (The Flash)

Kristen Bell and Jason Dohring in Veronica Mars (2014)The world of cult TV is a peculiar one. Television shows are canceled all the time, but through the world of DVDs, Netflix, and Amazon, shows pulled from network schedules before their time now have the opportunity to grow a loyal, faithful audience long after the grass has grown over their graves.Kristen Bell in Veronica Mars (2014)Those fans often wonder if they’ll ever see their favorite characters again, and every once in awhile that wish comes true. Seven years after it was canceled, Veronica Mars, which became a cult phenomenon since it premiered its last new episode on The CW in 2007, returned for one more mystery, this time on the big screen. As any true fan can tell you, Veronica Mars was a witty, one-of-a-kind teen noir series that tackled everything from rape and murder to class warfare.A social outcast after her sheriff father (Enrico Colantoni) wrongfully accused a very rich, very powerful man of murdering his daughter (who was Veronica’s best friend and the sister of Veronica’s boyfriend), Veronica Mars (Kristen Bell) was largely on her own in a town full of obnoxious and privileged children of movie stars and CEOs. But the Southern California town of Neptune was divided along class lines. Veronica didn’t fit in with the popular kids, known as the 09-ers, after her father’s wrongful accusation, but she didn’t fit in with the working class either on account of her former association to those same 09-ers. She became a fierce, independent teen whose weapon of choice against her enemies was her mind, her wit, and the occasional stun-gunning. Each episode of the series tackled a new mystery for Veronica to solve, while an overarching larger mystery unfolded over the course of the entire season. It’s not every day a series like Veronica Mars shows up on TV, and so it makes perfect sense that Veronica Mars in its film incarnation be as unique as the series from which it was born.veronicamarsFunded by fans via a Kickstarter that broke several records and reached its goal of $2 million in less than 12 hours, the Veronica Mars film was a labor of love for all parties involved. The movie, which looked great despite not having had the funds it would have had if it had been completely backed by the studio, felt like an extended episode of the TV series. Some people might look at that and see a failure, but to any Veronica Mars fan, that’s the highest form of praise. Instead of an ending, the movie felt like a brand-new chapter recently discovered at the end of a favorite book.Series creator Rob Thomas has always been cognizant of the fact that the film would not exist if it weren’t for the fans, and has said on more than one occasion that it was imperative that they make a film that would do right by the fans who donated their hard-earned cash to bring this beautiful work to life. And that’s what he did. He created a film that he knew the fans would love. And he should know, because he’s probably the series’ biggest fan outside of Kristen Bell herself. Without Thomas and Bell keeping alive their dream of one day shooting a film, fans might have given up hope of ever returning to the seedy seaside town of Neptune, California.Kristen Bell and Ryan Hansen in Veronica Mars (2014)By the time Veronica traded in her pin-straight hair and fancy New York lawyer duds for the jeans, jacket, and beach waves uniform she wore for three seasons, it was clear Veronica was never going to go back to the seemingly perfect life she had in New York with Piz (Chris Lowell). It doesn’t matter if everyone knew going in that she’d end up choosing Neptune over New York and ex-boyfriend Logan (Jason Dorhing) over Piz, because it’s exactly what the fans wanted to see. It’s what the fans paid upfront to see. It’s the open-ended ending the fans waited seven years for. In short: The film delivered.rs_560x415-140311131242-1024.Veronica-Mars-Kristen-Bell.ms.031114_copyThe movie, which followed the first case Veronica had worked since she transferred to Stanford after one year at Hearst College, and which happened to coincide with her 10 year high school reunion, felt exactly like that: A reunion. Because Thomas wanted to please the fans, the movie attempted to bring back as many original cast members from the series as possible, from the still-bitchy Madison Sinclair (Amanda Noret), to the dirty and shameless Vinnie Van Lowe (Ken Marino), who might actually be living in a van now, to the effortlessly charming Deputy-now-detective Leo (Max Greenfield). The movie was a parade of familiar faces, but to fans of the series, it felt a bit like home. Each time a character appeared on screen, it was a wink and a nod to fans.Kristen Bell and Jason Dohring in Veronica Mars (2014)It makes sense that the person to pull Veronica back to Neptune and the private eye world was Logan. He’d been part of the reason she’d left town and their self-proclaimed epic love story was left unfinished. If I take issue with anything in the film, however, it would be the way in which it portrayed her relationship with both Logan and the job of being a private investigator as a drug. Over the course of the series, it was clear her relationship with Logan was toxic, but Logan has grown up and matured considerably in the nine years since we last saw him. Yes, he was quick to resort to violence when Veronica’s sex tape played at the reunion, but that doesn’t change the fact that Logan has come very far since his self-destructive days. He joined the navy and became a pilot. He became a stabilizing force for his girlfriend, Carrie Bishop, whose murder was the central mystery of the movie.Kristen Bell and Jason Dohring in Veronica Mars (2014)Keith’s vocal opposition to Veronica leaving New York and the opportunities there felt real and were grounded in reality. He’s a father who only wants the best for his daughter. But it was never going to happen. The mystery of who killed Carrie Bishop wasn’t the most exciting or intricate case Veronica has ever tackled, but once again, the movie had to find a way to work in a case that would draw Veronica back to Neptune, as well as find a way to work in the cameos fans desperately wanted to see in a short, finite amount of time. Revealing Martin Starr’s new character Stu “Cobb” Cobbler to be Carrie’s murderer made sense, because having it be someone fans knew and loved would have been crushing to the audience. The fact that Dick really never knew the truth about what happened to Susan Knight on that boat was in line with the Dick that fans have come to love or come to love to hate. In short, everything that happened in the film felt just right.Success in this industry will always be measured by how much money a film makes, and there is a special dollar amount the movie must bring in to warrant a sequel, but to fans of the series, none of that really matters. It was never about the money, it was about seeing Veronica, Logan, Keith, Wallace, Mac, Dick, Weevil, and Piz again. Veronica Mars’ success will never be measured in dollar signs, but in whether or not the film made fans happy, and to that end it definitely succeeded.

REVIEW: NEW GIRL – SEASON 4

 

Starring

Zooey Deschanel (Bridge to Terabithia)
Jake Johnson (Jurrasic World)
Max Greenfield (Veronica Mars)
Lamorne Morris (Game Night)
Hannah Simone (Oldboy)
Damon Wayans Jr. (Let’s Be Cops)

Jessica Biel and Zooey Deschanel in New Girl (2011)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Jessica Biel (Next)
Reid Scott (The Big C)
Hina Abdullah (Margaret)
Ciara Hanna (Power Rangers Megaforce)
Chasty Ballesteros (The Internship)
Kaitlin Olson (Finding Dory)
Michaela Watkins (Wanderlust)
Rob Reiner (ED:TV)
Alan Ritchson (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Julian Morris (Pretty Little Liars)
Erinn Hayes (The Watch)
Curtis Armstrong (American Dad)
Angela Kinsey (The Office)
Brian Posehn (The Big Bang Theory)
Cleo King (Mike & Molly)
Michael Stahl-David (Cloverfield)
Alexandra Daddario (Texas Chainsaw)
Amber Stevens West (22 Jump Street)
Lisa Bonet (Angel Heart)
Greta Lee (Money Monster)
Rebecca Reid (I Live With Models)
Billy Eichner (The Angry Birds Movie)
Barry Bostwick (Spy Hard)
Nasim Pedrad (Scream Queens)
Zoe Lister-Jones (Band Aid)
Sarah Burns (Life As We Know It)
Ben Falcone (Tammy)
Jamie Lee Curtis (Halloween)
Justin Long (Jeepers Creepers)
Meaghan Rath (Being Human)
Josh Gad (Frozen)
Nora Dunn (Bones)
Kiersey Clemons (Dope)
Artemis Pebdani (Son of Zorn)
Jack McBrayer (30 Rock)

Max Greenfield, Damon Wayans Jr., Hannah Simone, Lamorne Morris, and Jake Johnson in New Girl (2011)Romantic relationships remain the primary concerns of Jess, her four dude roommates, and her best friend Cece (Hannah Simone). In season three, Jess and her cute slacker roomie Nick (Jake Johnson) made good on the will-they-or-won’t-they? dynamic teased in the previous seasons and are already peaceably broken up at this point. (The episode “Goldmine” nicely addresses the difficulty of getting people not to bail on dates with each of them after learning that they live in the same apartment as their ex.) At work, Jess has made it up the ranks from schoolteacher to vice principal, which is all well and good until she gets a crush on a new British teacher (Pretty Little Liars’ Julian Morris) with the saucy name Ryan Geauxinue (pronounced “Goes-In-You”); unfortunately for Jess, administrator-teacher couplings are a no-no, so she tries to ignore the hunk. (That doesn’t happen.) Nick finds Kai (Greta Lee), a lady who likes to lay about the apartment as much as himself; rookie cop Winston (Lamorne Morris) “investigates” her behavior for his roommate and decides she must be homeless. (She’s not.)Zooey Deschanel in New Girl (2011)The show’s other key couple, former-model-turned-inept-bartender Cece (Hannah Simone) and metrosexual would-be player Schmidt (Max Greenfield), continue their pas de deux; Schmidt starts off the season overwhelmingly obsessed with Cece while she just wants to move on. As the season continues, Schmidt cools it a bit and finds a way to be Cece’s friend… which, of course, just makes her remember why she liked him in the first place. Unfortunately, by this point, Schmidt has started up with manipulative, career-driven city councilwoman Fawn Moscato (Zoe Lister-Jones). Fawn’s power excites Schmidty, but is this duo built to last?Zooey Deschanel in New Girl (2011)Wayans was a “recurring” cast member in season 3, but he’s a full-fledged co-star in season four. His presence in the show — besides demonstrating that non-“niche” sitcom ensembles can have more than one black dude in them — is wonderfully layered with jock-y braggadocio, hidden tenderness, and amiable goofiness. Coach also reacts to relationship strife in the most entertaining ways possible, whether it’s emotionally breaking down as he tries to describe fertilization in a health class he’s teaching or attracting a bar full of ladies to grind up against him to the strains of Alannah Myles’s “Black Velvet.”Zooey Deschanel in New Girl (2011)That just leaves Winston, who occasionally takes a break from studying for his police exam and from being in love with his cat to try to woo a human lady. I have to admit that Winston’s decision to become a cop just keeps reminding me of the later seasons of That ’70s Show, where Kelso’s decision to join the police academy also felt fairly arbitrary and strange. This is addressed in a subplot in the episode “Par 5,” which was actually co-written by Lamorne Morris, in which the character feels forced to hide his profession when he starts dating a woman who actively protests the LAPD. This episode tries to add a little nuance and depth to Winston’s choice to be a policeman.Zooey Deschanel in New Girl (2011)For a show with so many semi-arrested characters, gaining maturity and finding worthwhile career paths are unsurprisingly also an ongoing component of the show. Jess and Winston, of course, seem like they’re right where they want to be career-wise with the vice principal and police gigs respectively. Nick continues to flounder professionally, but eventually teams up with Schmidt to start their own entrepreneurial concern, and while their first concept — a suit made out of sweatsuit material — is a dud, the show seems optimistic about them finding fulfillment in working together. Cece finally goes to college, with some financial help from Coach and Winston, who consider it an investment that they expect to see repaid. When they find out Cece uses the opportunity to take somewhat esoteric liberal arts courses, the fellas are duly perturbed.Zooey Deschanel and Julian Morris in New Girl (2011)Once again, the show opens its doors to a number of excellent guest stars, including It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s Kaitlin Olson as Jess’s former classmate and potential stepmom (Rob Reiner and Jamie Lee Curtis return as Jess’s divorced parents), Jessica Biel as a romantic rival for Jess, Billy Eichner as a stressed-out, catty airport employee on Christmas, Childrens Hospital’s Erinn Hayes as a promiscuous school nurse, Lisa Bonet as the touchy-feely leader of a teachers conference, Nora Dunn as Schmidt’s overbearing mother, and on and on. Justin Long. Josh Gad. Michaela Watkins. Barry Bostwick. Sarah Burns. Kurt Braunohler. Regis Philbin. Funny people! The ensemble cast truly shines in this newest season of New Girl. Some episodes come in a little below expectations, but overall the season offers some interesting developments for the characters and oodles of great jokes. If you like the show, keep liking the show.

REVIEW: NEW GIRL – SEASON 1

Starring

Zooey Deschanel (Bridge to Terabithia)
Jake Johnson (Jurrasic World)
Max Greenfield (Veronica Mars)
Damon Wayans, Jr. (Let’s be Cops)
Lamorne Morris (Game Night)
Hannah Simone (Oldboy)

Zooey Deschanel and Hannah Simone in New Girl (2011)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Mary Elizabeth Ellis (Santa Clarita Diet)
Gillian Vigman (The Hangover)
Ian Wolterstorff (The Neighbours)
Lauren Dair Owens (Astrid Clover)
Katie Cassidy (Black Christmas)
Natasha Lyonne (American Pie)
Lake Bell (In a World…)
Justin Long (Jeepers Creepers)
Eva Amurri Martino (Saved!)
Michaela Watkins (Casual)
Stephen Amell (Arrow)
Blake Garrett Rosenthal (Mom)
Lizzy Caplan (Cloverfield)
Rachael Harris (Lucifer)
June Diane Raphael (Year One)
Kali Hawk (Bridesmaids)
Clyde Kusatsu (Midway)
Jeff Kober (Buffy: TVS)
Clark Duke (Two and a Half Men)
Ryan Kwanten (True Blood)
Joey King (The Conjuring)
Randall Park (The Interview)
Dermot Mulroney (Young Guns)
Martin Starr (Spider-Man: Homecoming)
Natalie Dreyfuss (The Originals)
Katrina Bowden (Piranha 3DD)
Annalise Basso (Ouija: Orin of Evil)
Rebecca Reid (I Live With Models)
Thomas Lennon (17 Again)

Your desire to watch New Girl is probably predicated by Zooey Deschanel, her cutesy fringe and massive possum eyes but rest assured there is a lot more to this show than that. If you aren’t already a Zooey fan please don’t let the somewhat annoying portmanteau “Adorkable” put you off seeing this great show.In my opinion the first few episodes of the show’s run are a little weak, but as season 1 continues this show goes from strength to strength as the writers seem to be figuring out what works and getting rid of what doesn’t. If you have seen the first few episodes on TV and are not sure if this show is for you I would definitely recommend sticking with it as the characters become less cartoonish and more fleshed out. While there are lots of comedies about people in their 20s and early 30s struggling with quarter-life crises, this show find a fresh approach to these issues that both men and women of this age in particular should enjoy.Zooey Deschanel, Max Greenfield, Jake Johnson, and Ian Wolterstorff in New Girl (2011)There is lots of cringe-inducing humour and the show benefits from a great deal of physical humour and sight-gags as well as nerdy rapid-fire verbal comedy (which is my favourite!). I would definitely recommend getting this show on DVD, as it is incredibly rewatchable. Not only will you quickly come to really enjoy `hanging-out’ with these characters but sometimes the jokes and quips come so quickly you will definitely pick up on jokes you missed during the first watch.Zooey Deschanel, Max Greenfield, and Jake Johnson in New Girl (2011)The actors are all excellent and are perfectly cast in their different roles bringing a real warmth to the relationships between the main characters. Zooey is excellent as Jess and is a really refreshing comic lead. It is great to see a quirky, laid-back female character as so often actresses in sit-coms are relegated to being the nagging girlfriend/wife or to just commenting on the funny situations the male characters get themselves in to. Not only is Jess a witty character but also her lack of tact and weirdness are frequently sources of humour, as are the gaffs of her three roommates. Schmit is the break out character of the show for me. While in the first episode he comes across as an arrogant, shallow meat-head he quickly becomes more nuanced and sensitive and in my opinion is far and away one of the funniest characters on TV.

REVIEW: WAKE UP, RON BURGUNDY: THE LOST MOVIE

Wake Up, Ron Burgundy: The Lost Movie (2004)

CAST

Will Ferrell (Elf)
Christina Applegate (The Sweetest Thing)
Paul Rudd (This Is 40)
Steve Carell (Evan Almighty)
David Koechner (American Dad)
Kevin Korrigan (Superbad)
Fred Willard (Lois & Clark)
Chris Parnell (Lost in Austin)
Seth Rogen (Donnie Darko)
Danny Trejo (7 Mummies)
Holmes Osborne (Bring It On)
Amy Poehler (Mean Girls)
Justin Long (Waiting)
M.C. Gainey (Lost)
Luke Wilson (That 70’s Show)
Vince Vaughn (Starsky & Hutch)
Kathryn Hahn (Bad Moms)
Maya Rudolph (Chips)

maxresdefaultThis movie is most certainly not one to watch if you haven’t already seen Anchorman:The legend of Ron Burgundy, but if you have, and you loved it then this is a truly welcome addition.maxresdefault (1)The story comprises of a sub plot intended for Anchorman that was dropped involving a terrorist organisation called “The Alarm Clock” hence the Wake up Ron Burgundy! title. The Alarm Clock are easily the worst terrorist group in the world having no political agenda, and not really knowing what they are doing, end up kidnapping Veronica Corningstone to use her to broadcast their as yet undecided political statement. So it’s up to the rest of the intrepid news team to save her.75b635ce3a8b4c178a875cec850155e6There are some truly hilarious bits in this film, one where Champ Kind is professing his undying love for Ron in the car but everyone pretends they can’t hear him is very funny, and another where we learn that the seemingly stupid Brick Tamlind was in fact the leader of a group of soldiers in the Vietnam war with the other news team members is very funny. All in all, it’s one for the fan boys, not for the people who didn’t like Anchorman.

REVIEW: JEEPERS CREEPERS 2

CAST

Nicki Aycox (Roadkill 2)
Justin Long (Waiting)
Jonathan Breck (Dreamland)
Garikayi Mutambirwa (Clockstoppers)
Ray Wise (Robocop)
Diane Delano (The Wicker Man)
Bob Papenbrook (Power Rangers)
Josh Hammond (The Brotherhood)

On its twenty-second day of feeding, the Creeper, disguised as a scarecrow, abducts young Billy Taggart in front of his father Jack and elder brother Jack Jr. The next day, a school bus carrying a high school basketball team and cheerleaders suffers a blowout, after one of the wheels is hit by a hand-crafted shuriken (throwing star) made out of bone. Cheerleader Minxie has a vision of Billy and Darry Jenner, the Creeper’s victim from the first film, who attempt to warn her about the Creeper, before he blows out another tire, disabling the bus. With the party stranded, the Creeper abducts the coaches and the bus driver. When he returns he singles out several of the students, including: Dante, Jake, Scotty, Bucky, and Double D. Minxie has another vision in which Darry explains that every twenty-third spring, for twenty-three days, the creature emerges from hibernation to eat humans.After hearing several police reports, the Taggarts go hunting for the Creeper and make radio contact with the school bus. The Creeper attacks Bucky but Rhonda impales him through the head with a javeline. He then kills Dante, and uses his severed head as a replacement for its own. The students leave the bus, but when the Creeper returns, they are chased into a field, where the Creeper kills Jake and takes Scotty. After the Creeper attacks Bucky on the bus again, Taggart shoots it with a home-made harpoon; but the Creeper manages to escape and flips the truck. Izzy, Rhonda, and Double D attempt to escape in a truck and are chased by the Creeper, causing the vehicle to crash. Despite missing an arm and leg, the Creeper continues to pursue Double D until Taggart arrives and shoots it in the head with the harpoon. Taggart repeatedly stabs the Creeper in the chest but the creature goes into a hibernation state before it can die. Twenty-three years later, a group of teenagers drive to Taggart’s farm, where the Creeper is a sideshow attraction, and see Taggart watching it with the harpoon at his side. When they ask him if he is waiting for something, Taggart looks up at the Creeper and says, “About three more days, give or take a day or two.”Victor Salva makes great use of the ‘surprise element’. All the characters in Jeepers Creepers are equally meaningless so you never really know who will get killed next. Even the most popular jock, the most innocent child or the cutest girl can die at any time and this results in an exiting drop-out race of which you don’t want to miss a second. The film is not as gory as you might think and the stress is more laid on tension. Salva and his crew use the remote location to the fullest and the film contains eerie shots of wide cornfields and roads with no chance for shelter. The cast of young and inexperienced kids do a fairly good job. The only familiar face in Jeepers Creepers 2 is Ray Wise (from the cult series ‘Twin Peaks’). This film will never be a classic but at least its entertaining horror without much pretension.

REVIEW: JEEPERS CREEPERS

CAST

Gina Philips (The Anarchist Cookbook)
Justin Long (New Girl)
Jonathan Breck (Dreamland)
Patricia Belcher (Bones)
Eileen Brennan (Miss Congeniality 2)
Brandon Smith (From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series)

Trish Jenner and her brother Darry are traveling home from college for spring break. As they drive through the Florida countryside, an old rusty truck tries to run them off the road. The vehicle eventually passes them, and they later see the same truck parked next to an abandoned church with a man sliding what appears to be bodies wrapped in bloodstained sheets into a large pipe sticking out of the ground. The man notices Trish and Darry watching him and attempts to run them off the road a second time.After escaping, Darry convinces Trish to go back to the church and investigate. At the church, Darry hears noises coming from within the pipe and crawls inside with Trish holding on to his feet, but he ends up falling in. At the bottom, he finds a dying man with stitches running down his stomach, and hundreds of other bodies sewn to the walls and ceiling. After Darry escapes, the two flee the scene and attempt to contact the police at a diner. At the diner, they are phoned by a strange woman who warns them that they are in danger. Confused and frightened, they ignore her warning. Later, Trish and Darry leave, with two police officers providing a security escort. As they travel, the police learn that the church has caught fire, and any evidence of bodies has been destroyed. The police are then attacked and killed by the mysterious driver, who loads their bodies into his truck.Fleeing, Trish and Darry stop at a reclusive old woman’s house, and beg her to call the police. The woman complies until she notices the driver hiding in her yard. She attempts to kill him, but the driver kills her and reveals his inhuman face to Trish and Darry, before pursuing them once again. Trish runs the driver over with her car, but they are horrified to see a giant wing tear through his trench coat and flap in the air. They drive to the local police station, where they are approached by psychic Jezelle Gay Hartman. She reveals herself as the woman who called them at the diner and tells them the true nature of their pursuer: it is an ancient creature, known as “the Creeper”, which hunts every twenty-third spring for twenty-three days to eat human body parts, which then form parts of its own body. She also tells them that it seeks out its victims through fear, and, by smelling the fear from Trish and Darry, it has found something it likes, but she does not know what.The wounded Creeper arrives and attacks the police station. After cutting off the power, it gains entrance to the cells and eats prisoners to heal. The Creeper is swarmed by police but kills a number of them and evades capture. Trapped, Jezelle warns Trish and Darry that one of them will die a horrible death. Darry demands to know who, and Jezelle looks at Trish. The Creeper finds them, but spares Jezelle as she does not have anything it wants. The Creeper corners Trish and Darry in an upstairs interrogation room, and after sniffing and tasting them, the Creeper throws Trish aside and chooses Darry. Trish offers her life for her brother’s, but the Creeper escapes out of the window and flies away with Darry. The next day, Trish is picked up by her parents, and Jezelle returns home in regret. In the Creeper’s new hideout, an abandoned factory, it is revealed that the Creeper has removed the back of Darry’s head and taken his eyes.Jeepers Creepers has more in common with 1950’s EC horror comic books than any B Horror movies that have been made in the past twenty years. That fact isn’t bad, it’s great! There are a lot of horror plot ideas out there that have never seen decent expression. The film has some decent surprises along the way and the pace stays interesting. The identity of the monster stays a little mysterious. You’re not totally certain what it’s supposed to be. The plot is done intelligently for a Grade B movie. The dialog isn’t stupid or contrived.

REVIEW: ZACK AND MIRI MAKE A PORNO

CAST

Seth Rogen (Bad Neighbours)
Elizabeth Banks (Power Rangers)
Craig Robinson (This Is The End)
Jason Mewes (Dogma)
Jeff Anderson (Clerks)
Traci Lords (First Wave)
Tyler Labine (Antitrust)
Tisha Campbell-Martin (House Party)
Jennifer Schwalbach Smith (Now You Know)
Brandon Routh (Legends of Tomorrow)
Justin Long (New Girl)
Katie Morgan (Triptank)

ZACH AND MIRI MAKE A PORNO

Zack (Seth Rogen) and Miri (Elizabeth Banks) are roommates who have known each other forever, so living together is purely platonic. That they haven’t done much with their lives and rely on each other to keep their home, heat and water bonds them much further than any romantic attraction could. But when their bills catch up with them, they have to figure out a way to make some money, and a chance encounter at an awful high-school reunion introduces them to an answer to their problems, they may have to complicate their situation and make a porno movie.

Sure, it’s a bit of a leap, but as Miri notes, their debts are at the point when people start having sex for money, so they gather some friends and local exhibitionists and plan out a pretty marketable idea for a porno. Of course it’s not as easy as turning on a camera and going at it, but the roadbumps the film faces are matched by the issues that arise for Zack and Miri, who thought their friendship wouldn’t be something sex could change.

With Banks playing Miri, and Rogen as Zack, the film is stacked with funny up top, but Smith’s films have always been loaded with memorable roles from top to bottom, and this movie is no different, except that his usual cast, aside from Jason Mewes and Jeff Anderson, isn’t there. Instead, the casting was influenced by Rogen, and resulted in the freshest cast Smith’s had since Mallrats. Craig Robinson (“The Office”) is brilliantly funny as Zach’s put-upon pal, in a performance that tells me he can definitely lead a film on his own, especially when he argues with his wife (an excellent cameo by Tisha Campbell.) Also fun is Ricky Mabe’s turn as wide-eyed Barry, the young actor, and porn star Katie Morgan, who plays her part with a sweetness that, combined with Mewes’ hard-edged innocence, cuts the harsher elements of the story and helps the romantic angles.


In watching this movie, it would be harder than usual to finger it as a Smith movie, at least if Mewes and Anderson weren’t involved, as it looks far more polished visually (like Jersey Girl), the dialogue is far less dense, and the characters escape the Askewniverse ghetto.