"Bitterly funny, bracingly true, one of the best gay films in a long while!"-David Noh, Film Journal

Sharp, entertaining, quietly sad, ... an invigorating and accomplished movie..., "The Fluffer" is a sly and hilarious deconstruction of the industry.... The movie has a lacerating, pungent humor. Glatzer and West know where the bodies are buried, and they refuse to turn away from the ugliness of the [porn] industry. -- Patrick Z. McGavin, The Chicago Tribune

"Glatzer and West have gone out of their way to distance their film from "Boogie Nights", the holy grail of porn-world sagas to which 'The Fluffer' bears obvious, and favorable comparison. Sharp, surprising and substantial."-Jan Stuart, Newsday

"Moves nimbly from behind-the-scenes comedy to melodrama...with sneaky flourishes of surreal style!" -A.O. Scott, New York Times

"[T]he film throughout merits particular praise for its subversion of traditional cinematic narratives: unrequited love, coming of age and crimes of passion follow unpredictable courses in an intelligent and compassionate movie." --Emma French, NitrateOnline, Nov. 16 2001

"Tantalizing, revealing...a wry, intelligent look at narcissism and desire." -Ethan Silverman, Out Magazine

"Everything you hoped 'Boogie Nights' would be, only without the prosthesis!" -Doug Brantley, Out Magazine

"Funny and sincere!" -Bob Westal, Film Threat

"An affectionate spoof of the porn industry...'The Fluffer' succeeds!" -Filmmaker Magazine

The sharp, entertaining, quietly sad independent feature "The Fluffer," an invigorating and accomplished movie....

Sean's motivation is pretty simple, the chance to work with his object of infatuation, "Johnny Rebel" (Scott Gurney), a handsome though spectacularly conceited, solipsistic straight actor who works in gay pornography because of the better pay. The third member of the movie's perverse sexual triangle is Johnny's girlfriend, Julie (Roxanne Day), whose stage name is Babylon, a dancer at a depressing, forlorn strip club.

On his first day at the set, Sean is talked into a new job description, the basis of the movie's title, a sexual stimulant for the selfish star to improve the actor's "performance." Sean's "act" only intensifies his desire and attraction to the actor. In turn Johnny's inevitable disinterest only heightens Sean's sense of estrangement and loneliness, eliminating any hope of his carrying on an honest and emotionally accessible relationship. It also evokes painful memories of his first unrequited crush on the older neighbor who tantalized him as a kid.

For its first third, "The Fluffer" is a sly and hilarious deconstruction of the industry.... Filled with self-reflexive content (visual references to "Cool Hand Luke," "Easy Rider," a gay reading of Alfred Hitchcock's "Vertigo), the movie has a lacerating, pungent humor ("At least if you're gay, you don't have to worship Cher")... The filmmakers have an ease and comfort with their actors (the movie has exceptional secondary performances from Robert Walden, Taylor Negron, Richard Riehle and Adina Porter).

The movie changes tone significantly in the last hour, the story filled with a pervading sense of doom and defeat, guilt and loss, increasingly connected to the process of working in a business that by its nature is emotionally unstable. "We're not talking about sex. This is pornography," says one character. Unlike "Porn Star," "The Fluffer" is not an uncritical celebration of the porn industry. Glatzer and West know where the bodies are buried, and they refuse to turn away from the ugliness of the industry. The movie turns on a sense of loss and waste, of lives ruined and thrown away. Even when it at times edges toward a tediously moralistic tone, "The Fluffer" never loses its sense of horror. -- Patrick Z. McGavin, December 14, 2001

A crisp and credible behind-the-scenes drama of a porn star, the gay cameraman who obsesses over him and the girlfriend who puts up with him....

Sean McGinnis (Michael Cunio), a young man who has come to Hollywood with the usual show-biz dreams, applies for work at a skin-flick studio with the highest hopes. He's not looking to get in front of the camera so much as have the opportunity to get close to his favorite sex god. Before "The Fluffer" reaches its soberly ironic conclusion, Sean will realize his fantasy in ways that neither he nor we could have entirely anticipated.

The Fluffer bears obvious, and favorable, comparison [to Boogie Nights.] In his fresh-off-the-bus naivete, Sean resembles Mark Wahlberg's Dirk Diggler; in his futile, stage-door-Johnny crush, he recalls the closeted production assistant (played by Philip Seymour Hoffman) who yearns after Diggler to no avail....

Where "Boogie Nights" spins out of control when it strays from its porn milieu and spirals off into violence, "The Fluffer" begins to hit its stride as it leaves the studio behind and focuses its attention on the self-destructive impulses that drive Sean and Johnny Rebel....

The writing ... is sharp and surprising, buoyed by credible performances from the three leads, as well as tart cameos by Deborah Harry as a strip-parlor manager and Adina Porter as a lesbian who'd rather watch gay-male porn. -- Jan Stuart

"The Fluffer" moves nimbly.... Along the way there are sneaky flourishes of surreal style....

[A] thoughtfulness...is also evident in the three central performances.... Sean is, in some ways, a corrective to the smitten cameraman played by Philip Seymour Hoffman in "Boogie Nights." His desperate crush on Johnny is made more interesting by its contrast with his generally responsible, even-keeled temperament. And Julie is, similarly, a fundamentally stable woman whose love for [Johnny] is tinged with maternalism.

Mr. Gurney's role as the object of their devotion is both simpler and more difficult. While he needs most of all to look beautiful, he also has to serve as the screen for their fantasies and a troubled, inarticulate young man. He manages both to solicit the audience's sympathy and to deflect it, so that the film's center of gravity remains with Julie and Sean. -- A. O. Scott

[C]lever enough to qualify as a sleeper hit at this year's Toronto Film Festival,... "The Fluffer" is much less explicit than you would expect, given its subject matter.

It's most interesting, and amusing, as an insider's look at the male adult film industry--screenwriter Wash West (who co-directed with Richard Glatzer) is a veteran director of gay porn ... well-paced and engaging... -- Lou Lemenick

Wash Westmoreland's prior stint as a gay-porn director, for both financial and educational purposes, has produced a compelling and provocative new feature film, The Fluffer, on which he served as writer and co-directer (along with Richard Glatzer)....

Both Sean and the reprehensible yet magnetic Johnny invite empathy throughout, despite their complicity in the many tragic events the story narrates. The capacity of Johnny's girlfriend Babylon (Roxanne Day) to convey innocence and goodness even when dressed in pseudo-bondage stripper costumes is remarkable. Sean's immersion into the sleazy world he is experimenting with occurs with disturbing and insidious imperceptibility. His job description rapidly expands into "fluffing": helping the porn stars out when they have difficulty maintaining arousal. Encouraged by Johnny to experiment with crystal meth at an industry party, the hilarity of Sean's wired description of Hitchcock's Vertigo as "pure porn" temporarily masks the sinister nature of his transition from classic movie buff to fluffer and criminal accomplice.

On potentially dangerous ground with both their morality tale plotting and their undeniably heavy use of symbolism, the directors somehow make it work. Sean removes the batteries from his kitchen clock in order to fuel his remote control for pausing Citizen Cum lovingly at every body shot of Johnny Rebel. The frozen clock, eternally trapped at the same moment, remains a motif throughout the film, until a new clock faraway finally chimes the next minute for Sean, relieving him of his emotional stasis. The protagonists' descent into emotional betrayal, drugs and loss of selfhood is enacted with considerably more plausibility and directorial restraint than the orgiastic downward spiral in Boogie Nights.

...the film throughout merits particular praise for its subversion of traditional cinematic narratives: unrequited love, coming of age and crimes of passion follow unpredictable courses in an intelligent and compassionate movie. --Emma French, NitrateOnline, Nov. 16 2001

An offbeat mixture of comedy and drama, The Fluffer marks the mainstream crossover of porn filmmaker West, working with Grief director Glatzer. When Sean (Cunio) rents Citizen Kane at his local video shop, he gets the wrong tape in the box: a gay porn film called Citizen Cum. And he's so obsessed by its beefy star, Johnny Rebel (Gurney), that he applies for a cameraman job at the production company. Soon he's not only shooting scenes of his new idol, but he's also acting as Johnny's "fluffer"--getting him, erm, ready for the climactic shots. But Johnny's straight -- he only does these videos on a "gay for pay" basis. And his lap-dancer girlfriend (Day) is worried about where their relationship is heading.

What starts as a rather dry and astute satire of the porn industry (including lots of hilarious on-set sequences and, of course, punny titles galore) slowly turns into a serious romantic drama involving Johnny's steady decline into a world of drugs and desperation, while the two people who love him try to save him from himself. It's pretty bleak, really, encompassing a murder, increasingly creepy flashbacks and the seedy aspects of the sex trade. And the more we learn about Johnny the less we can understand why anyone would be attracted to him; sure, he looks gorgeous, but under the skin he's a lowlife! Even with this uneven structure though, the film is extremely well-made, written and directed with honest insight into this hidden world and the people who populate it. And there's not an unconvincing performance anywhere--the entire cast is excellent, playing the scenes with a natural wit and vulnerability. Especially illuminating are the former porn stars (Walden, Riehle, Negron and Bagley), now all working behind the scenes and longing for the limelight. Surprisingly strong stuff for a comedy. -- Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall.

This inside look at the gay porn industry is a well-produced and -packaged item.... Not in the least sexually explicit, despite plenty of talk about the intricacies of making porn movies, pic is really the study of two men, a naive newcomer to Hollywood, played by Michael Cunio, who is attracted to a hunky porn star, and the star himself (Scott Gurney) who, though he acts in gay movies, is straight.

Filmmakers Richard Glatzer and Wash West take us behind the scenes at Men of Janus Prods. (responsible for 'Citizen Cum,' among many other titles), where Cunio is employed as a cameraman but finds himself also working as a 'fluffer' -- getting Gurney in the right 'mood' for sex scenes before the cameras roll. Pic also delves into Gurney's relationship with his lap-dancer girlfriend (Roxanne Day) and finds a cameo spot for Deborah Harry as manager of the club where Day performs.... good performances and smart camerawork. -- David Stratton

A DARKLY COMIC TALE OF BONE(R)HEADED OBSESSION set amid the gay adult film industry, nicely directed by Richard Glatzer (Grief) and screenwriter Wash West (director of X-rated classics like Naked Highway). Sean (Michael Cunio) is fixated on gay pay porn star Johnny Rebel (former Baywatch hunk Scott Gurney), so he gets a job at Men of Janus films as a cameraman and "fluffer" when Johnny is too cranked up on speed to get it up. Johnny is a perfect example of the kind of fascinating oddball who gravitates to adult films. He's straight but does gay porn. He's a druggie and unreliable, but also scarily irresistable. You can see why Sean is so reluctant to relinquish the fantasy. There's nice support from Robert Walden as a sleazy producer, Roxanne Day as Johnny's long-suffering stripper girlfriend, and Deborah Harry as a compassionate club owner."--Dennis Dermody.

A tantalizing new movie about the porn industry -- made by an adult industry veteran and his director boyfriend -- explores the elusive sexuality of actors who are gay for pay.... The Fluffer is a wry, intelligent look at narcissism and desire in our society.

[B]eing a porn star, whether gay or straight, goes beyond the realm of regular exhibitionism into the upper reaches of narcissism. And the fluffer figure helps these performers feel like sexual deities. But other professions ... have this component too. In comedy clubs or rock concerts, the fluffer is the one who warms up the crowd for the big act. In real estate, the fluffer gets the house ready to show a client. And in a social situation, we are all capable of "fluffing" someone, to get what we desire. Let's face it, the movie implies, everyone's wither fluffing or being fluffed. -- Ethan Silverman

Finally, a porn film with a plot. Only thing is, there's no real sex, and this isn't a porno flick. When los Angeles newcomer Sean (Michael Cunio) isn't sticking labels on adult videos, the fresh faced lad shoots arty scenes for his not-so-secret fantasy, Johnny Rebel, a gay-for-pay stud with 10 inches and an erection problem. Sean quickly proves more talented on his knees than behind the camera, stepping into the role of Johnny's "fluffer" (i.e., the one who gets him hard.) This inside look at the adult film industry focuses on some very weighty adult issues (sexual identity, addiction, abortion) and features fine performances throughout. Everything you hoped Boogie Nights would be, only without the prosthesis. -- Doug Brantley

A hugely entertaining insight into the sex industry, it's also a journey of self-discovery.... a great cameo by Deborah Harry, who plays the madam with a heart of gold, and appearances by Chi Chi La Rue and real-life gay porn stars like Cole Tucker....it's great for gay film-making that a talent like Wash has been able to make the move from simple penetration films, to making this very promising first feature.-- Mike Gray in Out UK

It arouses some interesting, questions about desire and identity, exhibiting a lightness of touch that is rare in any American film let alone a gay one.... fine performances from Cunio and Gurney and a nice cameo by Deborah Harry as a lapdancing madam. -- Mark Simpson

The story centers on Johnny Rebel a straight porn star who is 'gay-for-pay', and the lust object of one Sean McGinnnis. Sean starts his porn career so that he can, quite literally, get closer to Johnny. Wash West's insights into the sin é qua non of the porn industry have been garnered over seven years of research. This makes The Fluffer...possibly one of the most considered porn storylines ever. To be fair though, West's feature film is NOT a porn movie, rather a movie about the emotional cables that bind those who engage with the industry. -- Jane Czyzselska

Be prepared to drool unrestrainedly over the buffed bod of Scott Gurney, who plays gay-for-pay porno star Johnny Rebel -- J.C. Adams

"L.A. is the destination for a naive kid whose dreams of stardom land him work on a gay porn film in The Fluffer" -- Entertainment Weekly, August 24/31, 2001

"Essentially a gay Boogie Nights by way of Midnight Cowboy and Letter from an Unknown WomanÉPacks some potent wit." Michael Rechstaffen

The Fluffer looks into gay porn's funnest job.

Do you want to be a fluffer? In case you don't know what a one is, a fluffer performs the necessary stimulation to give a male porn-star the boner he needs to perform. Now do you want to be a fluffer? You can't blame cute boy Sean [Michael Cunio], who enters the porn industry with the hope of meeting [in more ways than one] his all-time favorite gay porn-star Johnny Rebel [Scott Gurney]. He might just have him too, if it weren't for Johnny's pesky girlfriend Babylon [Roxanne Day] getting in the way. Of course, you're going to have to tune in for all the money shots in this saucy summer sizzler.

The story takes Sean into the world of gay adult video, where he's sucked into becoming a fluffer for his porn idol Johnny Rebel. Some of the seedy sides, as well as the soulful, fun and cheerful sides of the world of porn are shown in the movie. Although based on experiences that West had in the world of porn himself, this is not an autobiographical story. It involves ego, deceit, murder, sex and a road trip to Mexico. Ultimately, it's about obsession.

Co-directors Richard Glatzer and Wash West both warn that their film isn't all light and, um, fluffy. 'Though there's a lot of humor coming from character observation,' West insists, 'It's really a dark tale of obsession.

The Fluffer, a flick that will look at the gay-adult-entertainment business in much the same way The Player treated mainstream Hollywood. The film will be co-directed by none other than legendary porn helmsman Wash West -- the man behind the award-winning skin flick Naked Highway -- and Richard Glatzer, who directed 1994's art-house movie Grief. In The Fluffer (the title refers to the person on-set whose job is to arouse the leading man), Beverly Hills 90210 heartthrob Scott Gurney plays a straight guy who wants to be a legitimate actor but soon finds himself playing roles of a different sort. The cast includes actress-rocker Debbie Harry as the manager of a strip club where Gurney's girlfriend works, plus cameos by rocker Ke (currently a sensation in Europe) and Lou Grant's Robert Walden.

A revealing and hilarious look at the porn biz can be found in The Fluffer, in which a young man goes west to find his way, only to end up working as an "assistant" to porn stud Johnny Rebel (not his real name). Though we've seen a number of films about the straight porn biz in the past five years, there still haven't been many about that element of the biz which caters to the massive gay demographic. --Matthew Hays

The Fluffer, Richard Glatzer's long-awaited follow-up to 1994's Grief, written and co-directed by Wash West, deals with a subject close to most gay men's hearts - the joys of the remote control fast-forward and pause buttons.

Sean (Michael Cunio) is the cute but naive boy in town, seeking fame and fortune. The town is L.A. and the fame sought is, obviously, in the movie business. After renting Citizen Kane from his local video store (there's a barely noticed cameo here, from Go Fish star Guinevere Turner), Sean discovers that he has actually rented Citizen Cum - and thus begins his love affair with Johnny Rebel (Scott Gurney) and that remote control. After Sean gets a job as a cameraman at Men of Janus Videos, Johnny asks him to give a 'helping hand.' The trouble is, Johnny is strictly gay-for-pay and has a girlfriend, the steely Babylon (Roxanne Day), a headstrong stripper who has just found out she is pregnant.

The Fluffer is all about submission, obsession and voyeurism, and we, the spectators, are as much implicated in creating impossible iconic myths as are the apparently self-assured, narcissistic "stars." It owes as much to the films of the latterly despised Brian De Palma as it does to Michael Powell's vilified classic Peeping Tom. It is not short of ironic twists: questions emerge as to who is actually "fluffing" whom, whose "internalized" homophobia is the greater and whether we can create a reality from our fantasies.

This is an assured non-porn debut from porn director Wash West (ironically, he got into the sex industry while researching The Fluffer). And hopefully we will not have to wait another seven years for Glatzer's next film, as The Fluffer is a deceptively slight, multi-layered film of great substance. And it's a dream to look at. -- Andrew Copestake

The Fluffer is an affectionate spoof of the sex industry.....fluffing is not merely the act of stimulating an actor prior to his performance in a porn film, it's also a metaphor for the power dynamic in any relationship that is one-sided.

The filmmakers set out to make a film driven by ideas and themes ... and accessible to a wider audience.

The Fluffer -- originally conceived as a modern-day retelling of the Narcissus and Echo Story -- succeeds on both counts. -- Steven Gallagher

A half-notch up from porn, this story of life behind the scenes at a gay-adult movie company feels nearly as crude as its subject. Jamie Bernard

Self-effacing, boyish Sean moves to Los Angeles to break into the movies, only to find the reality of Hollywood a lot tougher than he imagined. Out of work, he has little else to do than watch videos. When he rents a gay porn movie mistakenly put in a Citizen Kane box, he falls in love with its hyper-masculine star, Johnny Rebel. Sean's obsession is the ultimate fan worship and it takes over his life. He gets a job in the company that produces Rebel's vehicles and quickly moves up the ladder to become Rebel's favourite fluffer. The only trouble is that Rebel is straight. At least he lives with a woman, a stripper who goes by the name of Babylon. But Johnny needs a lot of attention. Babylon, his domestic fluffer, isn't enough; neither are his adoring fans. Drugs prop him up, but only for a short time.

"This is a story about tackling internalized homophobia head-on and finding sexual liberation at a deep personal level. And as the fluffer is the one who loves, while the other maintains emotional distance, it is also a golden metaphor for inequality in relationships. So the myth of Narcissus, in love with his own reflection, takes a modern turn, as his two Echoes get tired of echoing and take over their own lives.

Amusing and charming, with a healthy dose of visual pleasure, The Fluffer is also soulful and serious. -- Kay Armatage

Co-directors Glatzer and West deliver a dark and witty expose about an accidental video rental ("Citizen Cum" instead of "Citizen Kane") that leads to an unrequited obsession. Sean falls hard and fast for porn star Johnny Rebel. A few cheeky plot turns later, he lands his dream job as the fluffer of the title. What is a fluffer you ask? One who provides the necessary stimulation that enables a porn star to "perform." Only problem is, in real life, Johnny is a gay-for-pay only, horn-dog straight dude with a lap-dancer for a girlfriend. With Michael Cunio, Scott Gurney, Roxanne Day and the always amazing Debbie Harry as the lesbian owner of a strip club.

"Ever fallen in love with someone you shouldn't have fallen in love with?" Wash West's long-awaited first non-porn feature, co-directed with Richard Glatzer (Grief), is a hugely entertaining peek at the place where obsession, submission, money and sexuality meet: the sex industry. Sean McGinnis (Cunio) is young, naive, adventurous and pure. He arrives in LA to fulfill his dream of becoming a director. Obsessed with old movies, he settles down one night for Citizen Kane, only to find, to his astonished delight, he has mistakenly picked up Citizen Cum. His obsession with old movies becomes an all-consuming infatuation with Johnny Rebel (Gurney), porn star extraordinaire. Johnny is that paradoxical beast -- a horny, hot-blooded, heterosexual male who makes his living as a gay porno star (the technical term is 'gay for pay'). Desperate to meet Johnny, Sean gets work as a cameraman with the company that makes his films. And oh joy, he is asked to do a little 'fluffing' for Mr. Rebel on the first day; a new job cometh. Babylon (Day) is Johnny's girlfriend, a lap dancer at Leggs -- where the hostess, Marcella, is played by none other than uber-sex diva, Deborah Harry. While Sean fixates on the icon of Johnny Rebel, Babylon nurtures the day-to-day John. Johnny, meanwhile, cares only for himself. With fine performances all round, a strong script and a rousing soundtrack, The Fluffer is a sure-fire hit. -- Closing Night Gala, 2001