Rated X, A Journey Through Porn (1999)

"Excellent"

Rated X, A Journey Through Porn (1999) Review


In the wake of Boogie Nights, the adult entertainment industry has grown very popular with documentarians. With recent fare like The Girl Next Door, Sex: The Annabel Chong Story, and even American Pimp, you may be starting to feel as overwhelmed by sex documentaries as you are with real adult films (which are produced at the rate of at least 50 videos a week).

Fortunately, Dag Yngvesson has composed a very thoughtful piece on the porn industry, interviewing the men behind the scenes along with the girls in front of the camera. As a teen, Yngvesson professes to have been a porn junkie. Now, he figures, he'll explore its inner workings, just 10 miles north of his home in L.A.

As an amateur filmmaker stumbling his way through the San Fernando Valley, Yngvesson makes a great Everyman, unsure of his surroundings, clueless about who to talk to, and just "going with the flow" to the next big thing. This unassuming nature lets Yngvesson get into some pretty intimate sessions with his subjects, and before long, he's actually been invited to work as cameraman on a porn shoot (which results in some of the best parts of the movie).

As Yngvesson wrestles with his demons about whether or not to take the offer (and thus get even closer to his subjects), he gently, er, probes the stars and producers of the adult biz into revealing a few of its dirty secrets. While Yngvesson's interview style is too scattered and laid-back to dig overly deep into most subject areas, the insights he unearths about disease and racial prejudice are particularly relevant and biting, even if the line of questioning isn't.

Yngvesson's narration is also a bit sleepy and monotonous and could have benefited from a voice coach, but overall this is a solid and often hilarious look at porn. Prudes be warned: Rated X is often as graphic as the adult films it documents, so be wary and avert your gaze appropriately.

Yngvesson peeps as the riders ride.



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