You know, real life. Perhaps it's a bit sordid for some. Certainly it's a lot more raw than we would like to admit. And probably a bit more scatological too. Well, definitely a bit more scatological. But we do function as humans, right, not as robots or automatons.
Still, it's difficult to call a film about starving no-collar workers high concept. It's similarly difficult, if not deceptive, to call a film that uses the word fuck in just about every imaginable context, in numerous grammatical forms, smart. And it's tough to like a film that strives to be earnest while also working harder to be just plain stupid funny.
But isn't that what director Kevin Smith does? Reveal our foibles, faults, and body parts, while having fun with it along the way?
And with a familiar cast, or at least a cast familiar to one another, Smith does put together a good film that literally tells you the story, and presents the arc, with parallel narration by the characters making the film within the film.
Sure, a lot of this you see coming, particularly once the primary story unfolds, and lifelong friends Zach (Seth Rogen) and Miri (Elizabeth Banks) decide to work together to make a porn film. To make money. To pay the rent. To get their water turned back on. To get their electricity back.
To avoid living on the street. Get it. It's all about the money, not about sex, or love, or respect. Get it. It's about the Benjamins. Though with the condition this cast is in, it's about the Alexanders.
OK, you should be able to figure out how sex complicates things. Doesn't it always. And it does here, even with fictional characters Zach and Miri.
But you still follow them, and stick with them, and wait to see how it plays out. You want them to win, but you're not sure how to define winning in this context.
Smith continues to present struggling service economy folks, a step, or barely a step, above subsistence, in a meaningful light. He uses bare production values for this, standard sets, simply blocked scenes, and absolutely no high end Hollywood pyrotechnics.
And since this is us, we relate. We see ourselves out there, struggling, perhaps even cold in some drafty apartment in winter, not necessarily making porn films to get past past due bills, but figuring out a way to make it happen.
And for those who see this, and even those not living just at means, Kevin Smith makes us laugh, even when he grosses us out. And, yes, there is a gross-out scene for the ages in Zach and Mimi, and you will definitely know it when you see it.
Beyond the one huge, gratuitous disgusting scene, and several moments of cringe and stereotyping, Zach and Miri works as an example of how to make chicken salad out of chicken shit, or in this case, love amidst the ruins.