WHAT IT IS: As its subtitle so keenly spells out, “Naked Ambition” is “an R-rated look at an X-rated industry.” Watch as celebrated celebrity photographer Michael Grecco seeks out the adult industry’s biggest stars at the annual AVN Awards in Las Vegas (aka “the Oscars of the porn industry”) during the Adult Entertainment Expo as he attempts to capture the XXX world in a collection of classy-for-the-most-part portraits. The film is a companion piece to the finished product: a coffee table book of the same name.
WHAT ONE JERK THINKS ABOUT IT: I was pleasantly surprised. Not only was Grecco able to keep his “R-rated” promise — about exploring the adult entertainment industry in a manner most who aren’t religious fundamentalists can enjoy — but he was also able to really dive into the subject matter at hand in an intimate* and informative manner. By allowing the tale of small-town charmer Sunny Lane (who was up for AVN’s prestigious Best New Starlet award the year “Naked Ambition” was produced) to drive the narrative, Grecco effectively proved that even one of the most-despised industries is capable of having a heart. Also impressive is how Grecco manages to capture out-there sex toys introduced at the expo in a manner that’s not at all blush-inducing. Despite the overarching lighthearted nature of “Naked Ambition,” however, not a lot of screen time is dedicated to Ron Jeremy, perhaps the all-time king of stag-to-mainstream crossover success — a curious omission in an otherwise superbly executed documentary.
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO ABOUT IT: Rent it. Unless your religion frowns upon you learning about subcultures via fascinating documentaries, that is.
*Pun sort of intended….