Mockumentary look at Playgirl Magazine centerfold and 1992 Man of the Year, Dirk Shafer, who kept it a secret from the magazine that he is gay. Most of the film is a fictionalized retelling...
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Mockumentary look at Playgirl Magazine centerfold and 1992 Man of the Year, Dirk Shafer, who kept it a secret from the magazine that he is gay. Most of the film is a fictionalized retelling of Dirk's decision to send a photograph to Playgirl, his selection as a centerfold and then Man of the Year, his many TV interviews, his friend Vivian Paxton posing as his beard, and the pressures from his live-in lover to come out of the closet. Interspersed with this chronological narrative are a black and white look at an evening Dirk spends with Angela Lucassey, a woman from Reno who wins Playgirl's national contest to have a date with Dirk, and an interview with a stripper who tracks Dirk down. Written by
Like a pleasant walk on a beautiful beach, this movie gives the viewer an entertaining look inside the year-long adventure of a very pretty Playgirl model. Dirk Shafer, as "man of the year" and all that implies, must juggle the merits of this honor against the personal angst of being a gay man wearing a straight jacket. This is an interesting story, based on factual events, and re-enacted in a documentary style.
Most of the disappointed newsgroup reviews seemed to have been fostered by expectations that were unrealistic or overly lofty. There are no epiphanies here folks. Do not, I repeat, do not rent this movie to change your life. Some reviewers were apparently bothered that Dirk Shafer's year did not achieve deep social meaning to rival Mother Teresa's or that his virgin directing efforts did not unseat Stanley Kubrick. Several reviewers were annoyed that Dirk Shafer was too interested in himself. Well, duh, you don't have to attend 100 movies a week to realize early on that the movie is about Dirk Shafer, beginning, middle, end!
The naked truth of this movie is a simple story of an ordinary guy in a well tended package who finds himself romanced by an extraordinary situation. Fraught with heady seduction, personal dilemma, trauma, and confusion, I felt for Dirk's quandary, and was impressed that he could relate his tale with humor. Ultimately, Dirk's epiphany is one to which we could all subscribe. When shadow and makeup no longer hide the truth, and beauty moves beyond the skin, the value that remains is how much you are loved and how much you love others. And there you have it. Enjoy the walk and the beautiful scenery, your life will likely not change, but you will smile in the end.
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