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MONEY SHOT

SYNOPSIS:
Out-of-luck actor Duncan Wiley (Teo Gebert) is spotted by adult movie director Roger Hammond (Tony Bonner) and offered a screen test. Emerging as 'best performer' among the hopefuls at Hammond's audition, Duncan is offered a starring role in his next production. Attempting to keep his new career secret from his friends and flatmates is hard enough but when Duncan falls for the charms of his co-star Emily DuBois (Melissa Bell) and strangers start recognising him, Duncan surrenders and embraces his infamy as 'Duncan the Spunkman'. Trouble follows when villainous rival porn producer Angelo Dmitri (Terry Serio) attempts to undermine Hammond's business and sabotage Duncan's career.

Review by Richard Kuipers:
The producers of Moneyshot finally have good timing on their side. The theatrical release of the documentary Making Venus (about the painful 5 year gestation of this film) has given Moneyshot the perfect opportunity to make a bid for box-office glory. If you've seen Making Venus you'll be familiar with the story behind Moneyshot, aka The Venus Factory and Starring Duncan Wiley, and curiosity alone should send plenty of paying customers through the turnstiles. If you haven't, I recommend Making Venus as essential viewing before, rather than after, watching Moneyshot.

The finished product is not the disaster I was expecting but it's hardly a triumph either. The big credit goes to editor Paul Healy who has managed to create a coherent, fast paced and occasionally amusing whole out of parts created by many hands over many years. Healy's sharp cutting produces more laughs than the flimsy script actually deserves but he can't paper over the fact that there's not much wit or intelligence in the writing to begin with.

The character of Duncan Wiley, well played by the appealing Teo Gebert, comes off as a second string Dirk Diggler in this comic stab at Boogie Nights-type territory and what we're left with is a rather silly latter-day entry in the Alvin Purple school of Aussie sex comedies. Yes, this is ribald, raunchy and cheerfully vulgar but, like Duncan when he succumbs to the excesses of his hedonistic lifestyle, it's not very clever. There are some exceptions, among them a delightful running gag involving Duncan's flatmate Tasha (Natalia Novikova) who only speaks Russian and is understood by whoever needs to at the time. It's a terrific comic conceit and pulled off in winning deadpan style.

Unfortunately the humour elsewhere is far too forced and too self-conscious about the territory it covers. Although it's not a big laugh-getter Moneyshot does have its moments and is zestily performed by an engaging cast including Melissa Bell as Duncan's on-screen and off-screen partner and Tony Bonner who hams it up nicely as the porn merchant. After the trials Moneyshot's producers have endured over the past five years you have to give them (and a loyal cast who returned for re-shoots) credit for finishing their film and giving investors the chance to recoup.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1

SOUNDTRACK REVIEW

MAKING VENUS - the making of Money Shot

MONEY SHOT (R)
(Aus)

Also known as The Venus Factory

CAST: Teo Gebert, Tony Bonner, Melissa Bell, Jodie Dry, Terry Serio

PRODUCER: Jason Gooden and Julian Saggers

DIRECTOR: various - none credited

SCRIPT: Darryl Mason, Julian Saggers

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Rod Turnbull

EDITOR: Paul Healy

MUSIC: Veren Grigorov

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Mickey McDonough

RUNNING TIME: 71 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Tomahawk Pictures

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: February 20, 2003







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