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Movie Review: Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist and Rebel

Alternate Title: The Man Behind the Ears

Story: As a former bra burning, placard carrying, uber-feminist I was not sure that I wanted to see this film but I am glad that I did. This one-sided homage to Hugh Hefner was written and directed by Brigitte Berman.

We meet the 84 year old Hugh Hefner as he attempts (pretty successfully) to redefine his legacy. He wants us to remember him as a social activist, civil rights promoter, philosopher and ardent supporter of the first amendment. I admit that I did not know any of the things he was proudly discussing, but the on-target file footage gave proof of what he was purporting to have done.

The first third of the film is very interesting. It shows how he started his Playboy Magazine in 1953 and how he was the right man at the right time and with his controlling nature successfully built a huge empire. His Playboy After Dark and Playboy Clubs broke color barriers which at the time, were forbidden. This file footage was especially entertaining and enlightening.

His magazine promoted writers like Ray Bradbury, Hunter Thompson and Alex Haley. Yes, indeed, the magazine was not bought for the literature but the literature existed and many people read the stories and the progressive Playboy philosophy.

The talking heads include Bill Maher, Dick Cavett, Dick Gregory, Mike Wallace, Jenny McCarthy and sadly, Gene Simmons of Kiss. His presence did nothing to promote what the movie was trying to portray. The only anti-Hefner talking heads were Susan Brownmiller and Pat Boone. Sadly, she came off terribly and Pat Boone was just plain silly.

The jiggly, giggly part of the film was boring and seemed very tame by today's standards. Should you see it? For the sake of history, why not?

Check out the trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6kjNupDYiuU

Acting: A documentary disqualifies the 'acting' category.

Trivia: Brigitte Berman won an Oscar for Best Documentary, Feature
for: Artie Shaw: Time Is All You've Got (1985)

Predilection: None. My houseguest was interested in seeing this and I said 'why not'?

Critters: St Bernard puppy

Sex Spectrum: Lots of boobs, tails and talk of sex - but none was seen on the screen.

Soundtrack: Some fine tunes.

Theater Audience: A handful of old bunnies like us. I told the ticket taker we were retired fromer bunnies. She laughed.

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: 0

Drift Factor: It was too long at a bit over two hours. I started to think about lunch.

Oscar Worthy: No

Big Screen or Rental: Rental would be fine.

Length: A splash over two hours.