7.1/10
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2 user 16 critic

Portrait of a Call Girl (2011)

X | | Drama, Adult | Video 26 August 2011
Elle is a young call girl who tries to find herself and her place in the world to gain the freedom she wants.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Elle
Penelope Kay ...
Therapist
Alec Knight ...
Sam
Lexi Swallow ...
Lexi
Tina Lee ...
Tina
Double Dee ...
Dee
Eric John ...
Lee
Wallace ...
Driver
Zoey Holloway ...
Alice
Eric Swiss ...
Nathan
...
Ivy
...
Clay
Paula Monroe ...
Maid
Sissy Wenger ...
Isabella
Jake Jacobs ...
Jack (as Jay Crew)
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Storyline

Elle is a young call girl who tries to find herself and her place in the world to gain the freedom she wants.

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Drama | Adult

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26 August 2011 (USA)  »

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1.78 : 1 / (high definition)
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User Reviews

Pretentiousness + Gonzo = Incompetent mess
7 January 2017 | by (New York, New York) – See all my reviews

Having previously watched a lousy, garden-variety fetish video by Graham Travis and his mentor William H. "Nutsack", I could see the obvious failings of Travis's pretentious exercise in mainstream-leaning porn. Miscasting Jessie Andrews as a jail-bait, high-price prostitute was the first big mistake, but the resulting oh-so-serious scenes verge on camp in a disastrous experiment with no conceivable audience out there.

This represents one of those rare Patrick Collins attempts at gaining respectability for his long-lived but barren Elegant Angel all-sex label, even its name a ripoff of Stagliano's Evil Angel. Mixing gonzo sexual content with artsy, dramatic "mainstream" scenes is dangerous, since the result here is that neither satisfies and the combo is tedious.

Flashbacks of Elle's earlier days are poorly staged (with a desert backdrop for symbolism) and confusingly edited into the present-day narrative. Framing is done via Elle confessing to a therapist whose face is never shown - Penelope Kay who gets a big "special thanks" in the end credits. Feature's title should have been "Confessions of" instead of "Portrait", but either way we learn little after endless shaggy-dog flashback hints of what brought Elle to her lonely but wealthy hooker status.

Perhaps Travis's biggest error in this project was violating a rule I observed in the early '70s, that nearly all pornographers wisely adhere to. Even in soft-core but most definitely in hardcore, building a film entirely around one actress, with all the sex scenes involving her and no other femmes, is a case of shooting oneself in both feet. The audience craves variety and novelty -else there would be no porn industry as all us voyeurs would merely watch the same old treasured tapes, DVDs or downloads over & over again with satisfaction.

So having Jessie as not merely center of attention but the only girl in the whole movie who gets down is ridiculous. It also kills her performance, since the talented Andrews has proved herself capable of acting (see her Sweet Sinner roles for example) and can handle any and all gonzo humping including here gang-bangs, BDSM and a two-in-the-pussy double penetration exercise with Ramon and Mick Blue, Euro talent always on beck & call, but her one-note, opaque, totally inexpressive face throughout is wearying. Travis had other Evil Angel talent at his disposal and any viewer can easily imagine a far better outcome for this feature had Gracie Glam or Kristina Rose gotten the plum role.

For me, a huge drawback was Travis's waste of mucho talent, casting many big-name Adult stars in walk-on roles of zero impact. In particular, Zoey Holloway is elegantly styled and extremely beautiful as a sales lady who Elle buys an expensive bracelet from, but she has nothing to do but provide momentary eye candy in a couple of functional scenes. Similarly, a potentially crucial flashback role of Elle's mom has fetish icon Darla Crane parading briefly in a sexy black slip but again not pressed into service for the film's XXX content.

When the gonzo content starts, the entire film falls apart. It clocks in at 2-1/2 hours intact, with a 79-minute soft-core (full Andrews nudity but zero sex scenes) cut provided on the worthless second disk of a marketing-ploy 2-DVD package. Reversing this cutting, had the video been released by say the Smash label, the bonus cut would have been the correlative 70-minute wall-to-wall sex version, and that plays like any generic porn. Travis's tell-it-to-the-shrink cornball structure translates into random sex encounters by Elle with her free-spending johns, and the knitting together of footage into a cohesive whole doesn't take place.

Worst example of the auteur as Emperor sans clothes is a lengthy bout of Elle with Manuel Ferrara. She poses for the camera and shows off exciting latex leggings and gloves, otherwise nude and then tries to earn her big role-playing payday by seducing Manuel, busy working at his laptop in his mansion. The entire vignette turns out to be role-playing, campily artificial as Andrews throws a violent hissy-fit because nothing she does can draw Manuel away from working at his computer, and his resulting over-the-top anger at her for disturbing him. What results is Ferrara going through exactly the same routine of sexual gimmicks he almost unconsciously trots out in literally thousands of videos dating back a decade before this one when he was just a struggling Adult player back in native France: the murmuring orders sotte voce, pounding approach to intercourse, slapping and manhandling of the girl, James Deen-cliché rubbing of her pussy while humping and his trademark use of his feet to reinforce domination by clamping down Jessie's head to the couch or floor beneath them. It's wearying and ho-hum action, though presented (almost in the nature of found footage) by Travis as something special for those viewers somehow unaware of Ferrara prior to watching "Portrait".

The gang-bang with 6 masked guys paying a huge fee for the privilege has Andrews doing her uninhibited thing, ending stupidly with her falling for one of them, poorly chosen lump Alex Gonz, cuing a ridiculous '60s S.O.L.I. sequence of them getting romantic at a fun fair -Elle seems to have fallen in love! No it's just more filler en route to the dumb "reveal" of her past traumas that she was reluctant to tell to shrink Kay. Ending is pure cliché, with the risible "ballerina figure in a music box" routine, as corny as trotting out a Wellesian "Rosebud" sled for some instant "significance". Jessie's final line: "At one and a part of the vast wasteland that surrounded me" sets up his next pretentious but far more successful project for Collins' label: "Wasteland".


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