Anthony's Film Review

Porn: Business of Pleasure
(TV Documentary, 2009)

This documentary certainly sheds some light on the adult entertainment industry...

Although there are a few films that document the porn industry, Porn: Business of Pleasure is perhaps the most notable because of who produced it. It's not made by an adult filmmaker or an industry insider for an adult cable channel like Playboy or Spice. Instead, it was made by the folks at CNBC, the cable business news channel. If you think about it, it's a rather smart move. Pornography is a business, so it makes sense to have people with a business background look into the industry from the outside. This, of course, also ensures an objective presentation.

Overall, the whole film, which is only an hour long with commercials (and 43 minutes without commercials), is not bad. The reason I'm not giving it any more praise than I am is that the documentary mostly talks about what many people know already. There are only a couple of parts where I found myself understanding something I never knew before. The host of this documentary, CNBC reporter Melissa Lee, at least does a good job narrating the film and interviewing some interesting people from the adult entertainment industry.

So what topics are covered in its quick running time? Well, there are several. The segments of the documentary include an interview with Paul Little, a.k.a. Max Hardcore, who was sentenced to 46 months in prison for selling and distributing material deemed to be obscene; how more women are managing adult film studios and catering to female porn viewers; the personal life of porn actress Jesse Jane; and how the Internet is making it hard for porn to survive because of how easy and free it is to obtain online porn, not to mention how technology allows one to create and share amateur porn.

There was one segment I thought was very interesting. It talks about the making of Pirates 2, which appears to be an X-rated spoof of Pirates of the Caribbean. The crew for this movie actually went as far as to include computer-generated fighting skeletons and design an elaborate pirate ship soundstage, even though the sexual content is expected to be the highlight of the film. Apparently, they felt the need to stand out from the myriad of adult films that are shot on a single location (such as a home in Beverly Hills, CA) and with a cheap budget over a short time span. It really opened my eyes, because I previous thought that pornography could never be susceptible to low demand under any circumstances.

Porn: Business of Pleasure is not the kind of documentary film that provides a real in-depth look into a topic and be refreshing even for an expert. Rather, it's a summary of where things stand on pornography today if you don't feel like doing the basic research on your own. Who knows? Maybe CNBC made this documentary for ratings, knowing that it's a widely discussed topic. At least the film does what any documentary should do: provide a fascinating insight into something that people would otherwise ignore.

Anthony's Rating:

For more information about Porn: Business of Pleasure, visit the Internet Movie Database and the web site of CNBC.


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