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"The Fluffer"

Directed by Richard Glatzer.
Written by Wash Westmoreland.
Starring Michael Cunio and Scott Gurney. 
Release Year:  2001 
Review Date:  3/28/02


In what might be the funniest title for a film in the history of cinema, "The Fluffer" opened here in San Francisco last week...and isn't nearly as good as the title would make you believe.

Don't get me wrong: "The Fluffer"--which stars Michael Cunio in the titular role as Sean, a fresh-faced bisexual 22-year-old that finds work at Men of Janus Productions in Los Angeles--has some funny-ass lines throughout.  Most deal with the explicit nature of Sean's work...which, if you aren't familiar with the term fluffer, deals with set production assistants that keep male stars erect in-between shots.  There are so many hilarious lines in "The Fluffer", and sadly, none of them are appropriate for the workmates that are standing behind you right now as you read this review.  There is also a scene in "The Fluffer" that rivals that scene in "Showgirls" where Kyle Maclachlan tells Elizabeth Berkley that she's "gonna be a big star" for Best Dirty Backstage Guy Line of All know it when you see it, and it brought a roar in my theater even though it was shown in the trailer for the film and most people already knew it was coming.

Sadly, most of these lines come in the first half of the film, and much like the somewhat-similar "Boogie Nights", things head south after a major plot twist mid-film.  The other characters in the film that matter are big-stud male porn star Johnny Rebel (Scott Gurney) and his stripper-girlfriend Julie (Roxanne Day).  Johnny's backstory mostly includes his insane use of crystal method, which sends his emotions out of control; Julie is--for reasons only movies seem to allow--in love with Johnny even though he lays other men during his day job and uses drugs during his night shift.  This, friends, does not make for interesting subplots.

This is the first film I can think of that has extensive male-on-male sex scenes (Men of Janus Productions is a fictionalized gay-sex company only); most of my audience tonight was comprised of seemingly gay couples*, and they seemed to be pretty happy with that.  Me, I wasn't that turned on by it, and it led to me laughing mostly when Sean was forced to, well, "do the duty."  But, the hushed tones when guy sex was going on seemed to indicate to me that this turned some of my audience on...pretty weird stuff for the straight-edged black guy in the back corner (i.e., me).  I mention this because I know that some of my male friends would walk out of a film that had even a little homosexual hooking-up...and, if that is you, skip this film altogether.

This was a good idea for a film, but ultimately, "The Fluffer" falls back down to earth after unearthing its one-trick pony early on.  But, this is still worth it for the lines in the first half of the film.

Rating:  Matinee

*--how can I tell they were gay couples?  Two things:

  1. None of these couples used "guy seating", the adolescent and ridiculous way that men separate themselves by one seat during a showing of a film to "give themselves more space."  I have had other women jokingly call me gay when I choose to sit right next to another guy at a movie, so I know that women think the same way about this.

  2. I counted at least four male twosomes that were sharing an order of popcorn.  Only couples share popcorn!


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09