20 August 2017 | ascheland
Not Even Skin Deep
The follow-up to "After Porn Ends" might be better titled "Retired Porn Stars Briefly Reminisce." It's not quite as catchy as "After Porn Ends 2," but it's more accurate.
As with the first one, director Bryce Wagoner points his camera at a sampling of retired and semi-retired porn stars from the '70s, '80s, '90s and '00s and lets them tell their stories, most of which are brief and not terribly illuminating. A majority of the subjects fall into two camps: Thanks to porn, my life is GREAT! (Lisa Ann, Brittany Adams, Tabitha Stevens); and: So I made f--- films. What's it to you? (Georgina Spelvin, Ginger Lynn, Johnnie Keyes). Darren James, whose HIV diagnosis shut down (straight) porn production in 2004, has a story that's at once cautionary and inspirational. Chasey Lain, sounding and looking spent, does little more than gripe about the pay split at the Bunny Ranch. The saddest of the bunch is Janine Lindemulder, now living with her mother (or so it's implied), battling depression after a stint in prison for income tax evasion and losing custody of her daughter, and sporting more tattoos than a member of the Yakuza.
If Wagoner's first documentary didn't fully penetrate its subjects, "After Porn Ends 2" doesn't even get skin deep, with much of the documentary playing like a series of "Where Are They Now?" segments on "Entertainment Tonight." Spelvin has offered more insight to the porn business in the interviews she gave for 2005's "Inside Deep Throat," and Lynn (a.k.a. Ginger Lynn Allen), now an abstract painter, would've been better served by an update of her E! "True Hollywood Story" episode. Lisa Ann--who should really consider switching to decaf-- and Adams seem more more into self-promotion than personal revelations. Keyes, now a jazz musician, actually breaks down when recalling his abusive father, but diminishes the poignancy of that moment by making it clear he doesn't have a high opinion of women. Most frustrating is the segment on Lain, who talks about having interests outside of porn, but never revealing what those interests are. Her demeanor also suggests she's gone through some rough patches, but like her other interests, those are kept close to Lain's chest.
A few stray observations are made about racism and misogyny in the industry. Lisa Ann says she was told to avoid interracial scenes because they would hurt her career, advice that she ignored once she was no longer under contract. "All the company owners are secretly racist," she says. The only person to bring up sexism in the industry is a man, Herschel Savage, who says that with the exception of the performers, men in the porn business don't really like women. The women interviewed don't weigh in, preferring to talk about anal sex than sexist a- holes.
Peppered throughout this documentary are brief interviews with current porn stars. Though some appear to understand that performing sex on camera means that later they'll either have to go into business for themselves or, at the very least, move to behind the scene roles in the industry, there are a couple who seem to naively think that they can move on to mainstream careers without their porn careers following them. Someone should check back with them in a few years to see how that goes. That someone, however, should not be Bryce Wagoner.