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Critic wrangle: “Zack and Miri Make a Porno.”

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08252008_zackandmiri.jpgI liked Kevin Smith’s rom-com just fine when I caught it at Fantastic Fest last month, though I’m getting pretty tired of the Smith/Apatow tendency to obscure sappiness with poop jokes. Own it or get over it, boys. The critics are all over the place with “Zack and Miri Make a Porno,” which is either heartfelt, tiresome or both.

On the pro side: Roger Ebert, who compares Smith, favorable, to a line cook, and Robert Wilonsky at the Village Voice, who shrugs that “nothing about Zack and Miri feels terribly fresh, much less transgressive,” but adds that “there is something decidedly novel (nay, revolutionary!) about this particular Kevin Smith film: It looks professionally made, which counts for something.” Noel Murray at the Onion AV Club puts it this way: “It’s nice to be able to break from the ritual of Smith-bashing for a change and say that his latest movie, Zack And Miri Make A Porno, is honestly enjoyable.”

Not so nominally impressed: Lisa Schwarzbaum at Entertainment Weekly sighs that Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks’ porno scene is “the one naked moment of emotion (and yes, eroticism) in this otherwise coarse movie’s whole tired, simulated premise.” Stephanie Zacharek at Salon agrees that “everything else around that moment is more workmanlike — in that freewheeling, rather messy Kevin Smith way — than it is funny.” “Zack and Miri keeps throwing away the opportunity to be more than a string of undifferentiated puerile gags,” writes Dana Stevens at Slate, while Armond White at the New York Press observes “While Zack and Miri obviously parallels Smith’s own piddling career endeavors, it also exposes his filmmaking inadequacies.” And I’ll give the last word to A.O. Scott at the New York Times, who complains that “thrown away an imaginative premise to get down to predictable, mechanical business. It’s as if Mr. Smith were a plumber who knocked at your door and then, against all reasonable expectations, insisted on fixing the sink.”

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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