Oh cool, Heather Graham did another movie about the porn industry. It’s just a pity that the movie comes nowhere near to the level of Boogie Nights. More annoyingly, the movie ends up mostly being a string of clichés (as true as they may be) without any hint of originality in the way it handles the subject. The biggest sin of all, it has an entirely very weak and forgettable main character in the form of Angelina. This becomes quite apparent when you realize that Heather Graham’s role as the lesbian porn director ends up having the strongest emotional scenes in the entire movie, despite her just being a secondary character. That’s pretty bad, given the subject matter and what you could have done with it.
To Ashley Hinshaw’s credit, she is quite likable (plus good looking topless) and manages to make the movie entirely watchable, but even her acting can’t fix the poor writing and lack of any sort of workable catharsis. Angelina’s entire character arc is just moving to San Fransisco and slowly doing more hardcore scenes. That’s not a story, that’s a basis for a core plot which never actually materializes. The rest of the time you have subplots that flounder and don’t amount to much apart from the already mentioned Heather Graham one. Even when Angelina advances to doing boy/girl scenes on camera, it never feels particularly dramatic, because it’s not portrayed as either a point of further degradation of her character or even as any type of real moral dilemma for her that she struggles with, so there’s no drama.
It’s feels like they wanted to make a movie about a girl getting into the adult entertainment business and in order to have a gimmick, rather than doing a typical “porn is bad and sleazy because it ruins lives, m’kay” story, they opted to portray the industry entirely in good light and thus make it feel empowering for a women to choose to work in the adult entertainment business with no real duress. But they entirely botched it in the writing phase because they were too afraid to do anything dark, so every negative plot detail is heavily downplayed. Hence Angelina’s boyfriend’s drug addiction subplot is barely touched and thus is a very weak excuse to have them eventually break up over it, none of Angelina’s porn shoots are shown to be particularly bad experience, and even her troublesome family situation ends up being superfluous drama because it feels so artificial and forced and blows up with minimal build up, etc. There simply are no stakes, so why would you as a viewer care what happens?