Whore (2004) / Documentary-Drama
aka Yo Puta
aka The Life: What's Your Pleasure?

MPAA Rated: R for strong sexual content, nudity and language
Running Time: 87 min. (US cable version edited to 76 min.)


Cast: Denise Richards, Daryl Hannah, Joaquim de Almeida, Pierre Woodman, Maria Jimenez, Conrad Son, Dora Venter, Rita Faltoyano, Carol Fonda, Javier, Africa, Monica Sweet
Director: Luna (Maria Lidon)
Screenplay: Adela Ibanez, Isabel Pisano (based on the novel "Yo Puta" by Isabel Pisano)
Review published October 1, 2005

Part documentary, part drama, part infomercial, part how-to-guide, Whore is titillation without consummation, a teaser of a film that will probably not satisfy any potential audience.  Viewers looking for an insightful look into the world of prostitution will find the interviews with real-life pros to be shallow, uninformative, and overly glamorized.  Others looking for some cheap thrills will also find the scant nudity, lack of sex, and long stretches of frustrated inaction to be too much to take. 

One might even argue, although it is a bit of a stretch, that Whore is an attempt to legitimize a profession that is generally seen as unsavory, and combined with the lack of actual sexual acts, will get people interested enough to try a prostitute after the film.  I might suggest this approach would seem very unlikely, as most viewers will do something that those that find their release will do -- roll over and go to sleep, most likely long before it is actually over.

Somewhere in the middle of this cavalcade of snippets with prostitutes, gigolos, johns, madams, pimps, and porn actresses is a bland and uneventful drama involving Denise Richards (The Third Wheel, Undercover Brother), playing a 24-year-old virgin (yeah right!), introduced to the world of sex for profit by her neighbor, a prostitute played by Daryl Hannah (Kill Bill, The Big Empty).  Richards isn't keen on the idea until she needs some fast and easy money, which is generally the allure that draws most women into the profession.  These scenes are superfluous to the overall story, and despite having two actresses that have bared all in films before, almost completely chaste. Even a scene of Richards and Hannah in bed together leads to...talking. 

The interviews are a bit more stylishly presented, but annoyingly so.  Interviewees weave in and out of conversations, some of them spliced together to make it seem like they are all listening to what one another are saying, and sometimes agreeing and conversing with one another, although it becomes obvious early on that this is done through selective editing rather than a truthful communal reality.  Prostitutes laugh, cry, and nod at what someone else is saying, although they never hear it or see it, leading to a false context of omniscience. 

perhaps the most troubling part of Whore is that it tells us very little that we didn't know already.  We know prostitution is a profession all over the world, performed by women and men that see it as strictly business.  We know what draws them to the life, and we know the basics of how their business operates.  Why in the world we need a bunch of talking heads to tell us everything that we have already seen and heard before about one of the most often portrayed professions in literature, television and the movies is beyond anyone's comprehension.  interviews with real-life prostitutes are all over the place as well, from HBO series to daytime talk shows, many of them much more well-rounded and full of informative tidbits than this.

Perhaps the best summation of Whore can be extracted from the statements of certain prostitutes interviewed within the movie, where they mention that they don't give their customers everything they want, which generally helps gain repeat business.  This movie skimps so far that it delivers on almost nothing that it promises, not even worthy of a one-time trick.  I'm sure that those same prostitutes will tell you that that's a recipe for going out of business.  If you're smart, you'll never pay the fee.

Qwipster's rating:

2005 Vince Leo