I attended my nephew’s Bar Mitzvah on Saturday. It was an especially long service, but my nephew did a great job with his readings. He might have been slightly overshadowed by the excellent prayer reading done by his handsome and charismatic uncle, but hopefully I didn’t take the attention away from him too much.
If you’ve never had the privilege of attending a Bar Mitzvah, they typically take place during the synagogue’s regular Saturday morning services. But many of the key readings and other parts are handled by family and friends of the Bar Mitzvah rather than the regular members of the congregation. As I was preparing to do my reading, naturally I was reminded of the 2008 movie “Zack and Miri Make a Porno.” (Yes, that’s what I was thinking about during the service.)
Many of you may have forgotten the movie. It was directed by Kevin Smith, best known for his small-budget films Clerks and Mallrats. Up until that point, Smith’s movies took place in a shared universe that had a common tie in the form of slacker duo Jay and Silent Bob. For this film, Smith left his shared universe and took a different approach: He made a Judd Apatow movie.
Back in 2008, Judd Apatow was a hot director in Hollywood. His “raunchy but full of heart” comedies like “The 40 Year Old Virgin” and “Knocked Up” were big hits, so Smith apparently decided to copy his style. He took two frequent Apatow collaborators in Elizabeth Banks and Seth Rogen and put them in a raunchy situation (Two platonic friends decide to make a porno in order to pay bills). On the surface, it seemed like any of Apatow’s movies, but there was a disjointed feeling at times when some of Smith’s style was more noticeable. We also got some of Smith’s usual crew like Jason Mewes and Jason Anderson in key roles.
Ultimately, the movie was just kind of okay. Perhaps the thing I remember most about it was that they advertised during World Series commercials that year, but shortened the name to “Zack and Miri” in the commercials. Apparently somebody thought that advertising a movie with “Make a Porno” in the title didn’t exactly go well with baseball’s wholesome image.
So there; I’ve just compared my nephew’s Bar Mitzvah with a Kevin Smith movie about making a porno. I can officially check that one off my “to do” list.