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Cathouse (2002)

DVD Cover (HBO Studios)
Genres:
Biography (Non-Fiction), Culture & Society, Sexuality, Sociology
Director:
Patti Kaplan Patti Kaplan
Starring:
Madam Suzette Madam Suzette
Kent Wallace Kent Wallace
Karla Karla
Deanna Deanna
Sunset Thomas Sunset Thomas

5.8 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by Chad
Added: August 13, 2005
In this HBO "documentary" that managed to spawn a sequel and a television series, we take a look at the Moonlight Bunny Ranch - Nevada's foremost modern brothel. Yes, it's a legal whorehouse, where for just a small amount of cash (usually in the neighborhood of one to two thousand dollars for an hour) you can do whatever you want to and with the fine looking ladies of the house. The "documentary" unravels by listening to what the ladies have to say about the job, listening to Madam Suzette (the owner of the place) talk about how things are run, and watching the negotiations between the ladies and the paying customers unfold. We see a few interesting discussions here; there's a mom bringing her son in to lose his virginity, a pimp attempting to steal one of the girls away from the brothel, and a husband-and-wife team celebrating their anniversary.

Notice how I kept putting the word "documentary" in quotes? Kinda like I just did? Well, that's because this movie is not a documentary. Sure, it has the elements of one, it appears to be one, and it's even structured like one... but this is far from a documentary. No, this is a sixty minute advertisement for the Moonlight Bunny Ranch with a (very) few interesting discussions thrown in to keep people watching the presentation. If the movie is to be believed, there's always a party going on at the place. Always. Walk in at any time of the day, and you'll see a party which is beyond your wildest dreams. The women there? They're sex-crazed addicts who can't wait to do whatever you like. One lady even claims to masturbate four times a day before she even comes to work, and she then goes on to show the camera her fifth masturbation session of the day. These ladies love their job, and one even claims that she would do it for free. The owners of the place? They take good care of their ladies, they pay them oodles of money, and they're always willing to lend a helping hand where need be.

Listen - I have no problems with legalized prostitution. I wouldn't ever lower myself to paying for sex, but I think that adults should be able to what they want with their lives, and if that means turning yourself into a whore, so be it. When I picked this movie up, I expected to be treated to some insight on how the brothel is run, how the ladies truly feel about the place, what sort of customers come in... something other than sixty minutes worth of promotions for the place. The ladies never seem to tell the truth about how they feel about the place, as if someone were standing just off camera with a shotgun pointed at their children. This brings out plenty of "Yes... I, uh... love it here!" segments which really cheapen what little value this movie had to begin with. I'm not saying that there are no women in the world who would love this job, but this "documentary" is nothing more than a self-serving commercial.

It's not all bad though. There are some really good parts of the movie, and every one of those parts involves the pre-sex negotiations between the women and their clients. The actual sex acts are not shown, but thanks to a hidden camera, we see quite a few interesting discussions between the parties involved. For example, we watch as one prostitute who is wearing nothing more than a sheer nightgown and panties straddles a young man, kissing him and telling him what all he can get for his cash (oral, anal, blowjob, and "if you cum, no problems! I'll get you back up!")... all while the man's mother sits on the bed, watching and listening. We watch as two brothers negotiate with a prostitute to get a three-way, only to find out that they don't have anywhere near the amount of cash that she wants for the service. Had the movie consisted of sixty minutes worth of these types of scenes, this movie probably would have rated infinitely higher by yours truly... but instead, these segments take up about ten minutes worth of the running time.

If you're looking for an insightful documentary about the inner workings of a brothel, look elsewhere; this movie does nothing more than promote this particular establishment. If you're looking for some cheap T&A entertainment, look elsewhere; this movie does have some nice looking ladies and a fair amount of nudity, but a whole lot less than one would expect. If you're interested in visiting the Moonlight Bunny Ranch and want to see what sort of place it is and what the prices are, pick this one up; but that's really the only way I could recommend this disc. 3/10.
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