The Fluffer’ falls short

The Fluffer
Cinema 21
616 N.W. 21st Ave.
Nightly 7 & 9 p.m.
Fri-Sat 10:45 p.m.
Sat-Sun (12:45), 2:45, 4:45 p.m.
Jan. 25-31

For those not in the know, a “fluffer” is the person on a porn movie set who helps the male actors “stay in character” so to speak. The person who performs the invaluable duty of fluffer does so for the good of the film and a few extra bones in the old paycheck. It is also a little known fact that just because a film is “indie” doesn’t make it good.

“The Fluffer” is a low-budget film about the inner workings of the gay porn industry. The promotional material for the film includes a quote from Out magazine that states it is “everything you hoped ‘Boogie Nights’ would be!” “Boogie Nights” was good because the actors in the film had some actual talent. They could deliver the ridiculous lines that precede intercourse in porn with the same atrocious voice intonation that is used in real porn.

When those actors portrayed their characters in real-life situations however, they sounded real. This is not the case in “The Fluffer.” Every line in this film is delivered with the same acting ability and intensity as any John Holmes classic. Maybe Out magazine’s quote is intended to mean that this movie is superior because it centers around gay porn. Don’t be fooled. Porn is porn, no matter who the players are.

The adult film star Johnny Rebel is played by Scott Gurney, formerly of “Baywatch,” a show that rivals porn in the bad acting department. Johnny is a straight man who performs in gay porn because he can make more money. “The Fluffer” Sean McGinnis is played by Michael Cunio. Cunio is a newcomer to film whose only previous work was in guest appearances on “The West Wing” and Pamela Anderson’s syndicated disaster “V.I.P.”

When Sean accidentally comes across Johnny in the film “Citizen Cum,” he is immediately smitten and gets a job as a camera man at the studio that produces his films. Recently, due to a methamphetamine habit, Johnny has had some trouble maintaining an erection; this is where Sean’s services are really needed. After one “fluffing” by Sean, Johnny is better than ever.

This film makes a half-assed attempt to explore the feelings of degradation that Sean has at having to perform this service to his idol. Sean must also cope with the fact that the only relationship he will ever have with Johnny is that of his fluffer. In the meantime, Johnny’s “stripper with a heart of gold” girlfriend Julie, played by Roxanne Day, has confided to her boss that she is pregnant with Johnny’s baby. Julie’s boss is played by Deborah Harry, who is wasted in this role.

Unfortunately for the viewer, the movie has too many plot lines to follow and consequently many of the characters and scenes end up feeling muddled and a little haphazard. The movie is like listening to your grandpa begin one story and then stop a quarter of the way through to tell another completely different story because he can’t remember what he was trying to say in the first place.

There is no conclusion in this film because none of the story lines reach fruition. With a more concise story and better acting this film could have been great. It gets bogged down with too many details and misses the bigger theme of obsession and degradation.

Porn movies are everywhere but this film spends a lot of time trying to convince us that the only people who rent gay porn are “farmers from the Midwest.” That line is repeated about four times.

Incidentally, the movie really doesn’t have any nudity to speak of. There is a two second flash of a flaccid penis and the rest of the sexual content is implied with above-the-waist shots and lots of uninspired moaning.

“The Fluffer,” which showed previously at the Portland Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, begins a weeklong run at Cinema 21 on Friday.