So, what's it like making a living in the world of porn?  What cliches are ridiculous, and which common beliefs are true?  These are some of the "secrets" covered in The Secret Lives of Adult Stars, a 2004 documentary consisting of interviews with the people who make their living making adult entertainment.

This documentary takes a simple approach: Get some adult film professionals (mainly actors and directors) and let them chat about different topics.  The folks discuss everything from how they got started in the industry, to fans, to the challenges of maintaining relationships with people who aren't part of the industry.  They discuss the need to "approach women as a consumer," the rise of the internet and technology (the shots of vhs boxes suggest this was made right before the advent of the dvd), and how little male performers make compared with women.

Folks looking for deep, dark secrets won't find them here.  There are no outsiders giving different perspectives on the pros and cons of filming and selling sex, just industry professionals discussing mostly how much they enjoy working in the industry.  (All may not be perfect, as the stars who become more popular can work less.  Asia Carrera comments that she made "seventy movies in my first six months.")  There's no discussion of feminism, politics, or controversy.

What The Secret Lives of Adult Stars delivers is most of the big names of the adult industry, such as Brittany Andrews, Julie Meadows, Anna Malle, Nina Hartley, Julia Ann, Asia Carrera, Michael Raven, Steven St. Croix, and more.  (Notably absent is megastar Jenna Jameson.)  This documentary shows that the people in the adult entertainment industry are regular people, not sexaholics or damaged goods.  Beyond that, though The Secret Lives of Adult Stars isn't particularly illuminating on this fascinating genre.

Overall grade: C+
Reviewed by James Lynch

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