Paul Snider is a narcissistic, small time hustler who fancies himself a ladies man. His life changes when he meets Dorothy Stratten working behind the counter of a Dairy Queen. Dorothy is a pretty but naive high school senior. Paul immediately falls for Dorothy, who sees in Paul a wise, worldly person unlike herself. Paul believes Dorothy is Playboy material, the magazine he sees as only a springboard to bigger and better things. Paul's dream does become a reality: not only does Dorothy eventually marry him, she becomes the August 1979 Playboy Playmate and ultimately Playboy Playmate of 1979, which does indeed lead to the start of an acting career. As Dorothy's star rises, Paul's life is one of a hanger-on as those in Dorothy's new circle, including Playboy publisher Hugh Hefner and movie director Aram Nicholas, don't much like Paul. Paul is unable to eke out a life of his own without using Dorothy's name, which she increasingly is reluctant to provide to her husband. Those that know ...Written by
I have to hand it to Bob Fosse for immortalizing not only Dorothy Stratten, but Lenny Bruce as well. (In Bob's other great movie 'Lenny' with Dustin Hoffman) What is it about these two people that attracted the intense attention of a choreographer like Fosse? In a word, I'd say it was 'rhythm'. Both these people went 'out of sync' with their otherwise preordained lives. Lenny decided to 'go blue' with his comedic material, and become the whipping boy for 'free speech'. While Dorothy was humble about her beauty, but saw the empowering opportunities it could give her. And interesting that Lenny was praised by the public for his comedic boldness, but hated by 'the system' of righteous puritanical authorities and outlets. Whereas Dorothy was scrutinized for her Playboy posing, but in her defense of it, 'the system' of entertainment pros and directors saw great potential in her. And as soon as the public realized 'Hey, these people are dancing to a different beat - but they're good at it' - they're sadly removed from the chorus line. And interesting that Lenny began to take himself and his charges way too seriously, while Dorothy and her rising success wasn't taken seriously enough by herself. Had Lenny been a little more 'laissez-faire' with the charges and controversy he caused, he may have lived a long and successful life? Had Dorothy taken heed to Hef's and others advice that she'd be better off without Paul, she too may have had a long and successful life? Either way, I don't think either died in vane. And again, kudos to Bob for putting these otherwise less than favorable and forgettable people as the unwitting pioneers that they were. Not that Lenny Bruce single handed made comedy 'sleazy'. Or that Dorothy Stratten innocently made pornography 'respectable'. But there are those today that would ignorantly say 'they got what they deserved'. And it's the grace of these two movies of Bob's to show how ultimately wrong they really are.
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