“About Cherry” is a flick that doesn’t exactly live up to its name. While blisteringly red and fresh, and bound to make a few mouths water, it’s an unhealthy offering to say the least.
Being the brains of a former porno star , you’d expect co-writer Lorelei Lee’s look into the world of pornography to at least have teeth. Unfortunately this soft, lightweight ‘promo’ for celluloid sex-work leaves as much a mark as a two-week old’s bite on a shoulder.
Truth be told, there’s nothing in here to deter a young woman from ditching her bra, juggling bosoms for a Kodak, and getting about with an oily sleaze in the sack. There should be, but there’s not; if anything it does more to sell than shock.
Where’s the in-film memo about tarnished reputation? the loss of dignity that comes from working as a sex-worker? the seedy underbelly and dangerousness of working in the industry? or, for that matter, the impossible climb beyond the life? Not here, that’s for sure. But boobs? Yep, it’s got them! Forced lesbian hump scene? Yep, one of those too! (Bloody awful sequence) And anyone for boobs?… Oh, I said that already!? Well, there’s those.
Upon discovering how easy it to make money by letting someone photograph her fleshy bits, Angelina (Ashley Hinshaw) – typical pretty girl living in a white trash family, complete with drunk mother, scumbag step-father and frightened younger sister – heads for San Francisco for a fresh start… and more paid nude work. She begins climbing the ladder (and other things), working her way up from doing straight-up masturbation scenes in movies to guy-on-girl work, while at the same time catches the eye of a filthy rich laywer Francis (James Franco). In any other film, that might complicate things more than it does here.
With her electrifying good looks and pleasantness in-front of the lens, Angelina, working under the name ‘Cherry’, becomes a favourite of porno-filmmaker Margaret (Heather Graham). So much so, the ageing beauty starts to ignore her at-home girlfriend (Dianne Farr) and proceeds to court the 18-year-old instead. Drama ahead? No, not really – just that aforementioned girl-on-girl hard-sex scene.
Honestly, that’s the plot. And unlike most films, it’s a plot without any sort of conclusion or answers. It just exists, erect and wooden, with no place to go.
While the film is a win (though she may find it returning to haunt her as her IMDB credits grow) for beautiful newcomer Hinshaw , who quite honestly is the sole reason to watch the film due to her uninhibited and likeable performance, it’s perplexing why James Franco – on a bit of a career resurgence of late – opted to play the film’s male lead (Heather Graham was seemingly hired so the producers could entice a few of her “Boogie Nights” fans over). One can only assume he read the words ‘topless scene’ followed by ‘topless scene’ in the script and thought it’d be a fun way to spend his hiatus from the big leagues.
“About Cherry” is one big missed opportunity. You’ll find more true-to-life warnings of wrongful career opportunities in Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Boogie Nights” – which, despite my love of the amusing and brilliantly-performed sexcapade, is saying something.
For bad or worse, director Stephen Elliot’s flick will do for young females, what “Top Gun” did for young males – send them running for the nearest pointy, fast thrill.