The adult movie industry is one that millions of people either fantasize about getting into or getting out of. Thus it is an interesting industry to investigate when it comes to documentary filmmaking and as an ever waiting to be entertained by something interesting viewer I didn’t hesitate in renting: Thinking XXX.

Thinking XXX is directed by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders a photographer who decided to research the porn industry and the people within it for a book project of portraits. He would pose the film stars in classic painting styles, first with their clothing on, and then with their clothing off. He invited several well-known writers to give commentary and also interviewed the porn stars themselves.

This movie probably makes a good companion piece for the actual book if you are into books of photographs meaning to be in-depth social commentaries. Alone the film doesn’t really stand out as all too informative or revealing. It indeed brings these players in the adult movie world to light and sheds some human light on them; stunning photography. However, it really doesn’t get into the gritty dirt of it all or show as many wide angles of perspective as one would think. The stars interviewed are all mainly porn positive and the writers interviewed are mainly skeptical of their happiness and through some muddled psycho-babble try to explain what would make someone desire to have sex on film for money. When all is said and done however no new ground is covered.

A few of the stars have interesting things to say and if you are a fan of the adult industry you may want to check out a listing of the stars involved with this project to see if it may become a must on your collectors list. However, if you are someone looking to “get off” by watching this movie you’ll more than likely be disappointed. There is plenty of nudity, but it is all quite non-erotic. The interviews with the stars range from making one look like a complete airhead, to one trying to defend himself against judgment with an overly cocky attitude, to one who is trying to show herself as a cold business machine. Two of the industry’s biggest stars are involved with the film: Jenna Jameson and Peter North, yet neither one is allowed to speak on camera. The other performers are asked what they think of Jenna Jameson and Peter North, but never probe the minds of Jameson or North. Jenna Jameson in her autobiography told a tale of rape and hardships that seem all to common the norm when it comes to girls in the porn industry; perhaps they were trying to keep everything light hearted and positive for this film?

Writer and director John Waters is probably the most interesting viewpoint in the entire movie. He is a very matter of fact man and fun to listen to no matter what the topic is. All of the other insights brought in are related in a more or less dull fashion.

This is a film perhaps for people who dislike porn and throw stones at those who do or who star in it. It helps to show them in a more human light, however, at the same time I think it could serve as even more of a reason to pick up the stones; especially  for purist hate-mongers. The psychological issues are sort of brushed over in intellectual mumbo-jumbo, but it is all in a more or less carefree non-harsh light that like most things comes off as a sugar coated version of half truths. In porn I am sure some have a grand time and some do not.

Thinking XXX is forgettable, but would serve well in combination with the book XXX: 30 Porn-Star Portraits as a gift to a collector of photographer, porn, or just an intrigued mind; one without the other though doesn’t have as much impact.