‘About Cherry’ is more one-dimensional and sleazy than incisive

About Cherry

Written by Lorelei Lee & Stephen Elliott
Directed by Stephen Elliott
USA, 2012

In trying its best to partially mimic the likes of similar commentaries on the perils of the adult entertainment industry, I’ll start off by saying About Cherry is a colossal failure. Focusing on young Angelina as her naivety and familiarly troubled adolescence prompt her to run away to find “bigger and better” things, she and best friend Andrew (Dev Patel) conveniently wind up inside a nice apartment in the San Francisco, California suburbs. Gravitating toward the aforementioned line of work for one reason and one reason only – quick, easy cash – Angelina, a.k.a. “Cherry” seems to have all the answers, that is until she begins to realize the perils of succumbing to such glitz and glamor at a precariously young age.

As much as I’d like to compare About Cherry to 2009’s The Girlfriend Experience, the former’s just too inconsequential and inept as it relies too heavily on the sexual aspects of the proceedings, coming off as more smutty than insightful. Sloppy construction and poor editing ensure that the cookie-cutter aspects of Cherry’s aspirations don’t amount to much, allowing the film to cover all of its embarrassingly familiar bases without a hitch. From maintaining her low-income family’s and boyfriend’s approval to the difficulty in leaving behind the financial security of her pick-up-and-go profession, you’d swear you’ve seen it all before, only much more skillfully (and tastefully) presented.

Familiarity aside, it’s hard to determine whether or not the scribes’ intentions were to either challenge people’s opinions about the industry or comment on the questionable integrity of it as an appealingly lucrative line of work. As life becomes increasingly more difficult for Cherry, it’s apparent that her story’s meant to illustrate the difficulties of leading a normal life off-set, but the proceedings as a whole remain thematically vapid, almost horrifically so, as attempts at characterization fall flat while its focus wildly shifts from one uninteresting individual to the next.

To put things plainly, it’s a shame that About Cherry‘s no-holds-barred depiction of the industry at its core amounts to absolutely nothing. As it continues to fall flat where it counts the most, Cherry’s one-dimensional and impoverished beginnings can’t quite explain away her interest in doing pornography, making the character herself more of an overly sexualized icon than a portrait of desperate times calling for desperate measures. Muddled intentions and smut galore pave the way toward a ludicrous final act, ensuring that About Cherry is left without a leg to stand on as everything about it steadily and distastefully falls apart.

– Derin Spector

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