Danland: Slamdance Review

 A lively, explicit portrait of nice guy pornographer Dan Leal and his ill-fated attempts at real intimacy.

A lively, explicit portrait of nice guy pornographer Dan Leal and his ill-fated attempts at real intimacy.

Dan Leal’s got sympathetic teddy bear eyes, a congenial personality, runs a successful business, is something of a neat freak, adores women and is pining for a committed relationship.

He’s someone who, at first glance, might be considered a catch, with the catch being that he’s in the business of producing and starring in gangbang videos under his professional name, Porno Dan.

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First-time filmmaker Alexandra Berger spent three-and-a-half years following Leal in his quest for true love, and while the resulting Danland travels an unsurprising path, it’s ironically the  subject—not the raunchy subject matter—that ultimately keeps this documentary involving.

Somehow, when Leal speaks of still hurting from a recent break-up, even as he matter-of-factly washes a sex toy in the sink of his suburban Virginia home/studio, Berger manages to make you feel his pain.

In an odd way, his pursuit of happily-ever-after love plays out like a pay site version of The Bachelor.

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You may not be convinced for one second that this leopard is ever going to change his spots, even when he rekindles a romance with an old girlfriend and proves his commitment by quitting performing in his videos (but still producing them) and setting up house in Baltimore.

Unsurprisingly the domestic bliss doesn’t last and neither does Leal’s stint managing bars and restaurants, but through thick and thin the unflinching Berger is there to do the emotional probing (often while Porno Dan is preoccupied with various sorts of physical probing) with amusing, if telling, results. 

Venue: Slamdance
Sales agent: Greenberg Traurig
Director: Alexandra Berger
Screenwriters: Alexandra Berger, Ann Husaini
Executive producers:  Martin Berger, Judy Berger
Producer: Avi Zev Weider
Director of photography: Avi Zev Weider
Music: Michael Montes
Editors: Ann Husaini, David Petersen
Not rated, 89 minutes.