To be honest, if I looked like Ashley Hinshaw (LOL, Chronicle), I'd probably make porn. I'd have more money than the Queen. About Cherry is an average coming-of-age drama about an impossibly pretty eighteen-year-old girl that moves to San Francisco (big city, bright lights, sophisticated living, freedom) to get away from a home life that is unbearable for one reason or another (drunk mother, abusive father, shit boyfriend, small town, no freedom).
Angelina (for that is Cherry's given name before she took her top off and started waving her wobblies at the camera) longs for a life away from the one hinted at, at the start of the film. She lives in an apartment with her parents and younger sister. She spends her days working in a launderette and her nights cuddling up to her grungy guitar-playing boyfriend or watching him on stage at the local bar, when one day this boyfriend suggests that she goes on a photo shoot he has already referred her for. The money is good, and they're only photos. Nothing sordid.
Well, she takes him up on the idea and quickly high-tails it to San Francisco on the money she's earnt, with Andrew, her best friend, played by Dev Patel (Slumdog, Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) leaving the boyfriend behind in a heartbeat.
From here it's a fairly formulaic plot. Angelina gets a job as a waitress in a lap-dancing bar (why a lapdancing bar is the only place she could have found a job is beyond me, but there you go) and meets a lawyer with a coke habit (James Franco) and money to spend. She continues to live with Andrew, though their relationship is purely platonic (at least on her side) and gets another job in the porn industry, making bigger choices for more money as she goes along.
The acting by all is fine. There are no outstanding performances to speak of. Angelina/Cherry is by turns coquettish and morose, depending on her mood. She is often a sounding board for others, viewed sometimes as the lowest form of human, allowing other characters to bounce off their insecurities. Trying to find her way, she makes good decisions and bad, but by the end of the picture, we are supposed to believe that she has grown, become something that she wasn't before, and that doesn't ring true here. Andrew is honest, loyal and desperately in love with a woman that doesn't even know it and he is too shy to tell her, believing he isn't worthy of her. Truth be known, he is too good for the girl who treats him as little more than a lapdog.
With fine support from Heather Graham, James Franco and Lili Taylor as Angelina's mother, the pace moves along quite nicely, but occasionally leaps where it should tread more lightly. About Cherry is a dawdle at times, though never boring and given the running time, more could have been done to round out the characters that were, by the end, left dangling without any real closure.
All in all, decidedly average, with some nudity, depictions of sexual activity and drug taking. R rated for a reason then. It doesn't have a message about why people do porn or how they fall into it, so don't expect a moralistic lesson . More moody than you would expect and smart enough to entertain throughout, just don't expect miracles, because there aren't any. A bit of a Marmite picture, as the reviews on many different sites will testify to.
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