Sexy Baby: Film Review
Jill Bauer, Ronna Gradus
Jill Bauer and Ronna Gradus' documentary examines the pernicious effects of internet pornography on today's culture.
Parents will want to immediately lock up their daughters after watching Sexy Baby, Jill Bauer and Ronna Gradus’ evocative if scattershot documentary about the pernicious effects of pornography and our overly sexualized culture, particularly on women. While the film is ultimately not particularly informative — unless you count learning the exact meaning of the unfortunate phrase “roast beef curtains” — it does provide a vivid portrait of a modern society seemingly hell-bent on becoming Sodom and Gomorrah.
The filmmakers make their case via portraits of three memorable subjects: Winnifred, a frighteningly precocious and sexually knowledgeable Manhattan twelve-year-old who can’t stop posting racy pictures of herself on Facebook; 22-year-old Laura, a kindergarten teacher determined to get labiaplasty to make her genitals look more attractive (see above reference); and 32-year-old Nichole, a former porn star turned stripper who teaches pole-dancing to women who want to use professional moves on their husbands and boyfriends.
While the film provides such entertaining vignettes as Nichole’s explaining the differences between “porn sex” and real sex or Winnifred’s father barely managing to contain himself when faced with his daughter’s behavior, its anecdotal style simply doesn’t dig very deep. While it’s nice to know, for instance, that Nichole has a loving, monogamous relationship with her husband who is also in the adult entertainment business, it doesn’t really add much to the overall theme.
The filmmakers take care to include the expected visual examples of how sex permeates advertising, etc., as well as random commentary by a gallery of young men and women whose cynical observations provide vivid illustrations of the film’s thesis. Not as vivid, however, as the graphic footage shot in the office of Laura’s plastic surgeon, which brings a whole new dimension to the term“invasion of privacy.”
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