Arts & EntertainmentMoviesMovies Now

Review: 'Aroused' rarely goes beyond surface in profiling porn stars

Aroused (movie)PhotographyArtArts and Culture

For a film that purports to go beyond the surface and uncover the "true essence" of adult film stars, "Aroused" spends a lot of time admiring the surface. Photographer Deborah Anderson, whose art books of erotica include "Paperthin" and the star-studded "Room 23," used the occasion of a photo shoot with 16 leading ladies of porn to conduct interviews about their lives and work. Completist fans of such performers as Alexis Texas, Katsuni and Misty Stone are the only likely viewers liable to find the documentary satisfying.

VIDEO: Upcoming summer films

The project, shot in dreamy black-and-white, offers promising moments in its early sequences, as the women, getting coiffed and made up, talk about their childhood, parents and first sexual experiences. There are a few discerning comments amid the post-feminist and not always convincing declarations of self-awareness and inner strength. Even so, and despite the use of on-screen quotes by famously independent-minded women, including Erica Jong and Eleanor Roosevelt, the documentary quickly devolves into a montage of glamorous nudes cooing into the camera, which coos right back at them.

Anderson — who figures prominently in end-credits footage of an adult-film convention — doesn't help matters with her increasingly banal voice-over observations about sex as commodity. Her conversation with an agent sheds some light on the business of porn, and provides more insight than most of her conversations with the performers. The impulse to profile "the world's most sexualized women" is a worthy one. But little sense of individuality emerges in "Aroused."

calendar@latimes.com

--

'Aroused'

No MPAA rating

Running time: 1 hour, 9 minutes

Playing: At the Chinese 6 Theatres, Hollywood

PHOTOS AND MORE PHOTOS: Faces to watch 2014 | Movies ENVELOPE: The latest awards buzz DOCUMENTARIES: 10 best of 2013, and a new crop in 2014

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
Related Content
Aroused (movie)PhotographyArtArts and Culture
  • Los Angeles Film Festival 2013: Film Independent unveils lineup
    Los Angeles Film Festival 2013: Film Independent unveils lineup

    "Only God Forgives," Nicolas Winding Refn's follow-up to "Drive", will have its North American premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival next month. Starring Ryan Gosling as an American expat living in Bangkok, Thailand, the film joins the critically acclaimed...

  • 'Gatsby' designs on display in Culver City gallery
    'Gatsby' designs on display in Culver City gallery

    Baz Luhrmann and the makers of “The Great Gatsby” used varied literary references to shape the film’s screenplay and the actors’ performances. If you’d like to see what inspired production and costume designer Catherine Martin’s look for the film, a Culver City gallery soon will be...

Comments
Loading