About Cherry is a lot of things. Part porno, part love story, and part coming of age story, it leaves the viewer caught in its jumble of tones. About Cherry tries to cover too much territory in just an hour and forty minutes, leaving dangling story lines and underdeveloped characters.
Cherry is the porn pseudonym of high school dropout Angelina (Ashley Hinshaw). At home, Angelina deals with an alcoholic mother and a boyfriend who walks around the apartment looking annoyed, but is probably supposed to seem threatening. At school, Angelina smokes a lot and denies sandwiches from her best friend, Andrew (Dev Patel). When Angelina’s boyfriend randomly brings up taking nude photos of her for money, she seems appalled. Until she isn’t anymore and is striding into a shady photography studio, ready to disrobe.
From there, Angelina falls down the rabbit hole, from taking naked photos to waitressing in a strip club and ultimately ending up in the world of adult film. Her best friend follows her to San Francisco, waiting for her to see that he’s more than a loyal pet — he’s hopelessly in love with Angelina. The guy gave up graduating high school for her and schlepped to San Francisco, so that should’ve seemed pretty clear.
Once the two hit San Fran, a stream of one-dimensional characters hit the screen. There are the suggestive ladies of Angelina's industry, a colorful roommate who takes Andrew to a gay club, and Angelina's new sleazy lawyer boyfriend, Francis (James Franco). Francis tries to charm his way through the movie with parties and drugs, but his true (i.e. dark) colors shine through.
As Angelina continues to delve deeper into the adult film industry, her first director, Margaret (Heather Graham), becomes more and more interested in her, despite a girlfriend at home. Apparently, everyone that comes in contact with Angelina can’t help but fall in love with her. Often, you feel as though you’re taking as much advantage of Angelina (and Hinshaw) as the implied porn addicts she's performing for.
If About Cherry had focused on one of its many plots, it would have been a much better story. It could have turned out to be a movie the audience actually wanted to invest in. Instead, it hops from broken relationship to broken relationship, ultimately confused and unsatisfied.
Images from the About Cherry Facebook page.