Too obvious to be considered inside-stuff, "Bustful of Dollars" is James Avalon's mockery addressed at his profession: shooting porn videos that derive, ever so tangentially, from mainstream entertainment. He's hurling mainly softballs at the Adult industry, but it's fun to watch anyhow.
One thing he doesn't explicitly mock is the hype machine and marketing fakery that plague Adult Cinema, dating back to the porno chic era. Rule of thumb for consumers is to beware the phony double-DVD releases, in which the second disk is all come-on, containing throwaway garbage or a tiny bit of material that easily would have fit nicely on Disk 1. That's the case here, adding very little to an already bloated 3-hour feature which easily could have lasted 90 minutes instead.
Manuel Ferrara does a nice job cast as the director of gonzo crap that Avalon astutely blurs with the "big-deal Western" he talks his venal distributor, well-played by Xavier Towers, into handling. Mafia-style, Towers literally threatens to cut off Manuel's balls (even brandishing the sword to do so) if he doesn't deliver the goods. My mind immediately wandered, estimating that at least 3/4's of Ferrara's voluminous catalog of porn videos wouldn't exist had he been castrated back in 2005 by Mr. X.
Avalon stages the shooting of the Western in a crummy ghost town set out West with endless complaining about Manuel of how lousy a job his crew is doing and what handicaps an artist such as himself has to endure to practice his craft. The reflection of his own career is writ large in these segments and I enjoyed James' self-serving sense of humor about his peculiar circumstance -an honest-to-God artistic filmmaker mired in the unrewarding world of 21st Century Adult entertainment.
The sex scenes are what matter here once you've stripped away the humor, and a varied cast, headed by the loveliest star of that moment Brianna Love, deliver the goods. The Bonus section on DVD #2 delivers a lengthy addendum to one of Ferrara's comical casting couch scenes, in which after shooting his load he calls in two studs to hump Taryn Thomas and deposit immense facials which literally cover up her eyes, an occupational hazard much lamented (and avoided as best they can) by porn actresses.
This footage was left out of the finished film due to continuity issues (the cum-all- over-her-face didn't match the surrounding scene), illustrating that even here Avalon worries about his finished product rather than succumbing to the all-sex mentality, since the missing footage was clearly more significant for the consumer than the ongoing story line.
Right from the film's opening tease, Avalon has fun with Sergio Leone's famous close-ups during a gun fight, in this case presenting close-ups of semi-nude Brianna and other girls poised to spray lead.
In the missed opportunities category, Avalon has Sophie Dee briefly as an extra as one of the townsfolk role, rather than giving the beautiful & distinctive actress a major role, an unforgivable oversight.
Clichés like an endless orgy to finish the film and a lack of intensity keep this from being a classic, but it is telling that the gonzo anal exercise which describes the usual junk Manuel is shooting also adequately sums up the junk Western he hands in to Towers, much to the hard-nosed executive's delight. It's clear that Avalon's career-long tilting at gonzo windmills as he tries to keep producing quality features is a status he's painfully aware of. Lately he has nearly sold-out to the powers of darkness by directing many all-sex videos alongside his ongoing Sweet Sinner series of story shows, but I don't think his pilot light of quality has gone out quite yet.
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