Idol Chatter

zackandmiri2.jpgWhether he’s playing Silent Bob, second fiddle to a foul-mouthed, sex-and-drugs-obsessed Jay, or taking on Catholic dogma in the film of the same name, writer/director Kevin Smith (“Chasing Amy,” “Mallrats,” “Dogma”) may not be the most family-friendly of filmmakers. Take his recent endeavor, which was formerly named (rather self-descriptively) as “Zack and Miri Make a Porno.” But look at the current advertising on buses and on television, and you’ll note the film’s now being advertised as “Zack and Miri.”

Officials in Philadelphia, for instance, declared their bus stops off-limits to ads because the film’s story involved pornography, and TV spots are airing as just “Zack and Miri” without “make a porno” being spoken along with the title.

This reminds me of the brouhaha over the Israeli reception to “Sex and the City.”

At first, “Zack and Miri” was raunchy enough to almost earn an NC-17 from the Motion Picture Association of America. A shrug came from the people who created the movie, including star Seth Rogen, quoted in Reuters:

“I honestly feel like if people saw it they would have been like, ‘This is NC-17?'” Rogen said. “And they would have been disappointed…I know enough about movies to know we’re not doing anything that hasn’t been done in movies rated PG-13.”

Smith himself is “stunned” about the reaction to the p-word. “Porno is not a bad word; it’s a word that describes something. It’s a word that describes a genre or a field of filmmaking,” he said.
With the film now rated at a solid R, the question remains as to whether the shift in advertising will represent a shift in interest in the film. Does changing the title accomplish anything? With a milder title, might people say, “Oh, Seth Rogen’s funny and there’s that actress who was on ‘Scrubs’–let’s go see it,” only to encounter the porno plot and be shocked? Or is the target audience going to see this movie no matter what the title?
Seth-Rogen at

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