Review for Adult Material
Adult Material is a hilarious look at the porn industry following the life of Jolene Dollar, Britain's top porn star as she tries to juggle her unconventional job and her life bringing up children. She seems to have a great life, enjoying what she does to be the main breadwinner of the family, but after a shocking incident involving a newcomer she ends up being blacklisted from the industry and must fight to clear her name in a defamation trial joining with the local MP who was ironically one of her biggest critics.
If you are a fan of Boogie Nights then you will enjoy this look at the behind the scenes of the porn industry. At times I wasn't sure how I was supposed to watch this as the mix between hardcore sex (though very little is actually seen) and the general comedy/drama of real life afterwards makes it a little awkard. This is not a show that you can have on in the background and certainly not one to watch without knowing what it is about.
Hayley Squires who plays Jolene and who was so great in I, Daniel Blake, is just phenomenal in this role and her back and forth between loving mum and porn starlet is just amazing. Her performance is accentuated by a wonderful ensemble cast including Phil Daniels as a sleazy Director, the always great Kerry Godliman as the MP who wants to fight against the industry, newcomer Siena Kelly as Amy, the up and coming (no pun intended) starlet who Jolene tries to help out. However, the show is stolen by Rupert Everett as the eccentric Carroll Quinn who is a mix of Peter Stringfellow and Burt Reynolds' Jack Horner character from Boogie Nights.
I really enjoyed the show and thought that rather than just be an excuse to cut to nudity or a sex scene every few minutes those scenes very rarely factor into the show and it could easily exist without them. The mix between comedy and drama was just the right balance to make the show watchable without feeling that they were trivialising the issues it was presenting, but not dark enough for it to be grim. My only criticism is that the last two episodes are very bleak with Jolene fighting her case and trying to keep her family and the descent of Amy into the dark realities of the sex industry.
Adult Material is a wonderful behind the scenes look at the dark side of the porn industry and the warm humanity of those who get exploited by it. The show does not demonise the industry, showing that when done right, the performers are taken care of, but also showing that when it isn't it can be a grim existence. By the end of the four shows I was wanting more and that is the sign of a great show.