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The story, set in the world of adult entertainment, centers around three characters: Johnny Rebel, a straight man who has become a star in the world of gay porn; Johnny's stripper girlfriend Babylon; and Sean, a naive young man in love with Johnny, who ends up becoming Johnny's "fluffer". Written by
After Paul Thomas Anderson's "Boogie Nights", the porn industry has been explored in a few interesting ways. Last year's "Wonderland" showed the downfall of porn legend John Holmes, a study of how desperate he became after realizing he hasn't been seen for anything but his "manhood". I recently saw "The Fluffer" which is detached to its subject, and simply shows how the characters are affected by their work.
"The Fluffer" is a film that unflinchingly shows the work of a small gay porn studio. I questioned its taste in some points, but I did in "Boogie Nights" also. I liked how it realistically shows how sex outweighing love leads to insanity in some form or another, but it is extremely hard to watch in spots.
Wash Westmoreland's story follows a pure young man named Sean who lets himself be degraded and used in his work as a cameraman in the studio. He falls for the studio's biggest star, Johnny Rebel. Rebel is straight, or so they say, but Sean can't help but love him. I found this point interesting, how Rebel (and I'm sure many straight porno stars) reduces himself to the homosexual market for more money. Anyway, Sean lets himself be dehumanized by Rebel and soon the industry sends all their lives in the wrong direction.
As a whole, "The Fluffer" doesn't fully succeed. Its messages are all told in familiar ways, (note the use of American flags to show the faded American dream for example) and the ending isn't fully convincing. However, it is a film that never stops entertaining and is definitely one of the very bravest depictions of the porn industry I've ever seen.
(2 and 1/2 out of 4)
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