A coke fiend James Franco does little to remedy this Lovelace-lite 'inside porn' drama.
There are worse ways to spend time than watching the beautiful if marginally talented Ashley Hinshaw smiling and removing her clothes. But when a guilty perv is all a film has to offer by way of a protagonist then it's probably in the best interests of us all if it doesn't exist.
Hinshaw's sexy 18-year-old, Angelina, doesn't start off as a liberated porn star pandering to every straight guy's legitimising fantasies about life in the industry. She's a good girl looking after little sister (Maya Raines), while dad stomps around in a permanent mood and mum (Lili Taylor) drinks and vomits away her days. There's a sleazy boyfriend (Jonny Weston) encouraging her to do racy pics for profit while Dev Patel bounces around as best mate, Andrew, a puppy-eyed source of goodness and acquiescence in this seedy, out-of-control set-up.
Andrew was Patel's next role after The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, creating the sense that as Sonny he took a wrong-turn on his zippy little scooter and is now hanging in there, hoping Judi Dench will soon march him back to a world where stories have a heartbeat. Here instead of a scooter, a car drives the action, enabling Angelina and a reluctant Andrew to leave school and family life behind and start anew in the free-spirited wilds of San Francisco.
By casting with his loins instead of a more depth-sensitive organ, director Stephen Elliott has made it too easy to buy out of everything to do with Angelina's decision to embrace the porn industry. This comes as easily to the open-minded Cherry (née Angelina) as everything always has, undermining the triumphant, pro-industry message we're supposed to be taking away. Unlike in Lovelace, we're never in any danger of believing any of this happened to a real person.
Lili Taylor and Dev Patel are already repping on the 'you have better things to do, right?' front and they are joined by Heather Graham as a porn director (*wink* because she was in Boogie Nights, see...) and James Franco as a coke fiend lawyer, whose presence could be to do with his ongoing fight against sex censorship. But even the man of the moment and other cached names can only provide a dose of energising confusion in this superficial and implausible dud.
Lili Taylor and James Franco lend a frisson of interest to all they sail in, even the obscure HMS Cherry.
Really bad but Ashley Hinshaw is really hot. Feel dirty.
Releasing this porn industry nonsense in the wake of Lovelace just underlines its weightlessness.