Picks and Pans Review: Zack and Miri Make a Porno

updated 11/10/2008 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/10/2008 AT 01:00 AM EST

Seth Rogen, Elizabeth Banks, Traci Lords, Jason Mewes, Craig Robinson | R

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If the economy continues its nosedive, the improbable fund-raising scheme hatched in desperation by the title characters in Zack and Miri Make a Porno may no longer seem so far-fetched. Underachievers Zack (Rogen) and Miri (Banks), platonic pals urgently in need of dough, decide to star in a dirty movie—a Star Wars parody called Star Whores—and sell it online. Zack's rationale: "Porno has gone mainstream, like Coke or Pepsi."

Just as those X-rated specialty cakes shaped like bosoms and other naughty bits let buyers have their risqué fun and eat it too, so the likable, lackadaisical Porno is determined to have it both ways. While its raunchy humor is often near-hardcore (don't take Grandma!), the film boasts a decidedly mushy, softcore heart. Director-writer Kevin Smith (Dogma) steers Zack and Miri to realize—cue the violins—that their feelings for each other run far deeper than their desire to make the next Deep Throat. Banks is pertly amusing while Rogen, playing a close variation of his Knocked Up slacker, again demonstrates his basic slob appeal.

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