About Cherry Review: Not Enough Graham and Franco
Gratuitous nudity laced with subpar acting is usually saved for late night television and the internet but “About Cherry” takes it a step further and displays it on the silver screen. It had all the right ingredients for a titillating tale of what happens in the porn industry but ultimately fails to climax.
It’s hard to understand what Stephen Elliott wanted this movie to be about. The direction is missing as the movie juggles the story of a young girl who gets mixed up in the adult film industry, what really goes on behind the scenes, and the graphic porn itself. Each side is explored but not enough to believe as if it were thought out completely.
The adult film industry portion is only lightly touched upon. Margaret, [Heather Graham] who plays an incredibly convincing porn producer, coaches the girls from behind the camera in such a believable way that you’d think you were actually watching the real thing. Unfortunately, this is as deep as it goes; we never get a good look at the vulnerable and often damaged humans that are often forgotten about in x-rated movies. This small glimpse into the disconcerting aspect of porn could have been expanded upon but it is left in the background.
The movie instead revolves around the ill-fated Angelina [Ashley Hinshaw], who takes on the moniker Cherry. Angelina, becomes an adult film actress after being nudged into taking some topless photographs by her boyfriend [Johnny Weston]. After this somehow life-altering experience, (accompanied by a strange song choice) she decides it’s time for change and leaves town with her best friend Andrew [Dev Patel].
The actors barely convey the drama of leaving home. The dialogue is emotionless and the depth of their acting can be compared to that of a conversation overheard on your bus ride home. You want them to break out — to show their hopelessness and despair– but we’re given ground beef when we’ve asked for filet mignon.
With the premise of a naive young girl who gets caught up in the adult film industry, you want to feel for Angelina’s misfortune but after she abandons her little sister and starts to film porn for money, the feeling of sympathy just isn’t there.
There’s no continuity with the development of the character and no explanations given for her motives. The only segway is an awkward bedroom scene involving a mirror, cutaway to the next scene, and she’s in an interview for a porn shoot.
The conflict seems to have been completely left out. Angelina fails to explain to herself or anyone else why she started filming porn. Apparently, it was necessary to cut out these scenes of clarification to put in more boobs and butts. Nothing else at this point will grab the audience’s attention.
The most redeemable part of this movie is the incredibly underused James Franco. His character, Francis, a failed artist and coke fiend who befriends Angelina, was given the barest of minimums when it came to involvement in the movie. Franco steals every scene he’s in but was undermined by his lack of camera time.
The weakest performance comes from our main starlet, Ashley Hinshaw. She is unable to depict the desperation and sense of loss her character should experience. The multiple crying scenes are forced and unbelievable. Her acting is comparable to the ability of those in the industry whom she portrays.
Memorable scenes can be counted on one hand with the rest of the movie consisting of filler. Not only are the important scenes lacking, but they also come towards the end of the movie. Even worse, the build up to the end is slow and downright uninteresting.
With such an intriguing topic and talented cast, any potential this movie had never came to fruition. This cherry was popped and there was nothing left but disappointment.
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