MICHAEL ACUNA | Southern California United States | 01/30/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Wash Westmoreland and Richard Glatzer's "The Fluffer" is an earnest, honest and humane attempt at exposing the Gay Porno scene through the eyes of a young gay man Sean (Michael Cunio), new to Hollywood who falls in love with a gay porno star after he rents a movie he thinks is "Citizen Kane" that turns out to be a gay porno starring Johnny Rebel (Scott Gurney).
(When the obviously oblivious Sean brings what he thinks is CK to the check out counter, the clerk winks and says: "Doing the Classics tonight, huh?) Sean proceeds to apply and get a job at Janus Films, maker of all of Johnny Rebel's films,as a cameraman and thus sets the film and his infatuation in full motion.
Westmoreland/Glatzer have the sense to steal from some of the best movies: isn't Sean really a palliative for the Phillip Seymour Hoffman character in "Boogie Nights," who is as over-the-top and overwrought in love with Dirk Diggler as Sean is laid back and introspective about his feelings for Johnny Rebel? And it's much harder for Sean to stay cool about Johnny in that, not only is he a cameraman he's also Johnny's designated "Fluffer."
There are some heavy-handed, though earnest attempts to delve into the psyches of Sean as well as Johnny but most of this falls flat as it merely upsets the equilibrium of the film: is this a psychological study or a light comedy? It is possible to be both, but the transitions need to be handled with more aplomb than they are here to be be meaningful and effective.
The final scenes of the film are a hoot though, with blatant references to Tennessee Williams' "Sweet Bird of Youth" with Sean standing in for Paul Newman and Johnny for Geraldine Page as Sean consoles Johnny in a cheap motel in Mexico. That scene also cannily references Michelangelo's Pieta!
They probably bite off more than they can chew in "The Fluffer," but Westmoreland/Glacker show a real sense of style, grace and directorial know-how; especially difficult with the obvious constaints of a small budget. Look for these two to do great things in the future."
Has some merit, but utimately dull
DonMac | Lynn, MA United States | 04/06/2003
(2 out of 5 stars)
"A lot less provocative than you might think, this one has some really good stuff going for it. The reality of the gay porn industry, some nice performances, well-made. But - and it's a big one -- I really hate these films that do the gay boy chasing the bad straight boy thing. It seems degrading and after a point in the plot, a little unrealistic. What ruined this film for me was the last half hour. I won't spoil it but it seemed forced, overly dramtic and ultimately a little dumb. Really, porn is porn and Boogie Nights did this 1000 times better. Rent, but I would not buy."
Terrific! Sort of a Low Budget, Gay Boogie Nights
Stephen McLeod | New York, NY USA | 05/01/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It's hard to explain what a "fluffer" is on a family website. Suffice it to say that a fluffer is someone on the set of a porn movie who makes it possible for a male porn star to maintain the illusion that he is enjoying what he is doing on screen. Women can fake it. Men, obviously, cannot.That said, *The Fluffer* is a realistic picture about the gay porn industry. It is also about how vanity, insecurity, helplessness, and ultimately, self-destruction, get expressed in the life of a man who appears to have everything: beauty, fame, people who love him and willingly sacrifice themselves and their own dignity - for a while anyway - to take care of him. In many more important ways, it is an almost perfectly realized cinematic exploration of the relationships between longing and fulfillment, fantasy and reality, love and obsession, the glitzy and the mundane. It's also about growing up and the deep sources of self-respect, how for some, as Blake said, "the road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom," while for others, it leads to spiralling self-destruction and, finally, to despair. The movie treats all of its characters with respect almost bordering on tenderness. The porn superstar's self-destructive dive is not played as a stereotype. Some of the characters in this movie seem functional if not particularly happy with their lives. Others - the three main characters really - find themselves on a pathe to either imminent self-destruction or imminent self-discovery and transformation. The movie does present, for one thing, a morality tale. But the general morality of porn itself is not examined in this movie. A final word: the excellent commentary track is revealing and deeply provocative, pointing out the places where the screenplay or the camera (or both) is communcating the film's dramatic insights as well as it's perfectly wrought structures.Highest recommendation."
Should have been better
Scott A. Humphries | Australia | 12/05/2002
(2 out of 5 stars)
"This film starts promisingly, with an attractive cast, a great story premise, good production values and a good soundtrack. I really wanted to like this film. Sadly, it soon went off the rails and never really recovered. I hated the entire last third of the film and the awful ending. The lead actor (not the one on the cover, the other guy) is a total hunk and quite a good actor too. The rest of the cast is also very good, but, in the main, the supporting actors (such as the wonderful Deborah Harry, whose impressive musical career always seems to overshadow the fact that she is actually a very talented actor who always chooses edgy and interesting material) are wasted and totally under-developed. The story focuses only on the two male leads, and since one of those characters is very unappealing, self-absorbed and, sorry to sound harsh, but basically just boring, that does not lead the film too many places to slide but downhill.I wanted to like this film, and I would say that if you're interested you should watch it, but don't bother buying it."
Believable acting with a story in a tailspin...
Mr. Stanley M. Schmidt | Rockford, IL | 05/15/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I was surprised at the overall tone of sadness and depression in this movie. The actors, who very believably played struggling youths growing up in a porn/stripper world, were the highlight of this film. Maybe the script needs more credit for the intentional lack of flair and in the end is VERY believable. This is not a "feel good" movie, so don't expect a sense of happiness at the conclusion. After watching a convoluted movie like this and knowing these types of situations DO exist in real life, made me thankful my life is "simple" compared to this.This film won't win any Oscars, but it's worth the watch for it's raw production value...4 stars."