Sunday, 9 August 2015

Hot Girls Wanted

Title:  Hot Girls Wanted
Director: Jill Bauer, Ronna Gradus
Released: 2015

Plot: Documentary looking at the "Pro-am" side of the porn industry, as it follows several girls aged 18-19 and making their first films in the industry. 

Review: A source of much excitement when it received its Sundance premier, especially when it lead to the film being picked up by Netflix. who currently seem to be trying to corner the marker in documentaries about the porn industry, or so it would seem looking at how many they offer on the subject as part of their streaming catalogue. At the same time it’s not hard to understand the buzz after all here is yet another documentary looking at the porn industry in particular the “Amateur” porn industry  better known as “pro-am” as it follows several young girls aged 18-19 many of whom are making their first films in the industry.
The second film by the directing team of Jill Bauer and Ronna Gradus, who here don’t stray too far from the source material of their first documentary “Sexy Baby” which featured ex-porn star Nakita Kash / Nichole as one of its trio of subjects as they looked at the culture of sexuality. Now with Rashida Jones joining them as a producer they turn their lense onto what is frequently seen as the entry point into the adult entertainment world. However the documentary originally started off with the idea of exploring the amount of porn watched by male college students, only to change their original plan when they saw that most of them were watching porn featuring young women. I can’t but wonder if it actually more due to their original subject not having enough steam to warrant a documentary.  
So now we have instead a documentary which seems to be aiming for easy scandal especially when nothing gets censors as riled up as young girls doing porn. Still if this wasn’t enough we are also bombarded with factoids whose authenticity is questionable at best thanks to the notable lack of sourcing for any of it. I mean are we to believe that porn accounts for more web traffic than, Netflix, Amazon and Twitter combined? Or that three of the top pro-am sites are worth an estimated $50 million? a statement in particular which seems hard to take when most porn companies are struggling to compete with the sites which offer their products for free.
Opening strongly with an overview of the changing attitude toward sexuality, as we regularly see music videos and celebrities blurring the lines between what is considered acceptable and what we consider pornographic and were the quick route to celebrity lies in leaking your sex tape in an attempt to mirror Kim Kardashians sudden rise to the top of pointless celebrity pile after her tape got mysteriously leaked much like Pamela Anderson and Paris Hilton.
Focusing on a small group of girls working in the industry which include Tressa who is one month into her career, Rachel who is only a week and half in when we first meet her aswell as Jade who at two years in the industry begs the question as to what point someone can still be considered an amateur? The film also follows agent Riley, who despite being only 23 is already building himself an empire through his agency “Hussie Models” as he offers the girls a place to stay in his house, while collecting rent on top of the 10% he already claims from their work, while strangely coming off like Alien in “Spring Breakers”. Funnily enough that film isn’t far off the image these young girls project as they scoff at the idea of working low wage jobs while harbouring dreams of mansions and porn star celebrity.
The fact that the girls all live together provides several interesting moments, as they trade war stories from their lives in the industry, or joke about creampies and the size of a co-stars endowment there really is a sense of camaraderie between them. Karly meanwhile confesses that she doesn’t have sex outside of porn, due to how she was treated by an early partner and even despite the fact they are essentially in direct competition with each other as they know that the outside world still despite it supposed openness still won’t accept them for who they are because of the fact they work in porn, something seemingly only further highlighted during the scene of the girls watching interview footage or Belle Knox who paid for her college fees by doing porn, rather than raising the funds through some more socially acceptable means, regardless of the fact she is just one of numerous performers in the industry who enter porn for this reason, something the documentary never chooses to mention.  Footage from one of Knox’s scenes is later shown in the film were she proclaims herself a feminist only for the documentary to suddenly smash cut into some of the more abusive elements of the scene, leaving the viewer with a feeling that the scene in some was invalidates her beliefs because of the career choices she is choosing to make.
Another aspect of the film which was fascinating to watch unfold was the relationship between Tressa and her boyfriend Kendall, who when is his first introduced states that the fact that his girlfriend doesn’t bother him, only to radically have changed his tune as the film progresses, interestingly though it is only after one of his friends at a college frat party tries to play one of Tressa’s films for the party that he starts to change his opinion on her work, to the point where when he’s sitting on the couch with her mother he’s defiantly against her working in the industry.  Ironically when she does quit the industry she ends up working in the hooters esq “Redneck Heaven” whose scantily clad staff were memorably featured in the trashy MTV reality show “Big Tips Texas”, which he strangely doesn't seem to mind.

The main issue the documentary has, other than how tedious at time the experience felt, something that you don’t expect yourself to be writing about a documentary focusing on such subject matter, is the frequent attempts to scandalise each new piece of information it provides, with a focus on abuse porn being the direction the career of the girls will take if they want to stay relevant with no note to how these films are just one small aspect of the industry as they instead choose to play it as if there is no alternative path for these girls, with often the girls being the only ones in the film to provide any form of counter argument. At the same time it would rather have you feel that the girls are victims somehow conned into the industry, rather than adults who have made the decision to enter into this world.
While seemingly promising to give us something new, the documentary ends up giving nothing we haven’t seen in other films, only this time with added scandal and unreliable fact checking which only takes further away from the film which is as flawed as it is lacking in depth as it could have gone so much deeper and instead opts not to only making it only the weaker as a result.


  1. Very good post Elwood. I agree the way it talks about how sexuality in the media has changed throughout the years would be a much better topic. It is funny that Trailer for the MTV how you posted if you switch that place with a porn studio you would have the same thing. I thought this movie did more to exploit the girls more then help them.

    1. I wish they would have given some kind of reference for any of the information, rather than, feeling like they just made it up. There are much better documentaries regarding performers in the sex industry such as "9 to 5: Days in Porn" or the superior "Cam Girlz"


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