10,000 Bullets   Exploring the world of Cinema from the Arthouse to the Grindhouse™

Boobs: An American Obsession 
Written by: on June 24th, 2010

Theatrical Release Date:
USA, 2010
Director: Nina Brownfield-Berry
Cast: Tom Arnold, Julie Strain, Melonie Charm, Mamie Van Doren, etc.

DVD released: February 9th, 2010
Approximate running time: 75 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Letterboxed Widescreen
Rating: NR
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo English
Subtitles: N/A
DVD Release: Cinema Epoch
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.98

Every year Americans spend millions of dollars on breast enhancement, from push-up bras to surgery. This documentary explores the US obsession with boobs via candid interviews with the women most affected by this cultural conditioning – from those working in the titty industry; glamor model Julie Strain, Hollywood actress Mamie Van Doren and various strippers including internet model Melonie with her 50 inch chest to the ordinary women that feel they need breast enhancement surgery as well as those that want a breast reduction. Along the way a wide variety of experts are interviewed as well as a few husbands, boyfriends and plastic surgeons, oh and Tom Arnold.

Despite initial appearances this is far from an exercise in cheap titillation (pardon the awful pun). This turned out to be a well balanced, expertly thought out and executed documentary on American culture’s obsession with the boob-job. The success of the film mainly rests with it’s multiple threads featuring ordinary women as they explore their reasons for wanting an enhancement all the way through to actually having it done, and yes this film does feature some wince-inducing close-up moments of surgery. The mother and daughter, so sweet, more like sisters, that do everything together, including getting matching boob-jobs so they can strip at the same seedy joint. The housewife wanting to go from a C to a double D in the hopes of pleasing her David-Brent-like husband. The comedienne that refused to bow to Hollywood pressure and go under the knife. The 22 year old that desperately wants to have a breast reduction. The breast cancer survivors discussing their experiences. That’s not to say this film is without a sense of humor – Julie Strain is a great interviewee “you gotta chrome the bumpers if you wanna win at the car show” as is Van Doren and the unintentionally hilarious comments from the young blonde airhead that just can’t seem to express why she wants the surgery “..I just want to look better in clothes” she simpers. And the ‘Top Free’ activists that believe women should be allowed to walk around topless anywhere they like, run by a creepy naked guru-like white-haired beardy old hippy.

The DVD:

Non-anamorphic letterboxed widescreen transfer is perfectly fine as is the audio track, clean and clear.

Extras include an audio commentary with the director and producer, both women, who discuss the reasons they set about making the film and provide further interesting background information on the subjects they interviewed. My one niggle with this track is that the film’s audio cannot be heard at all so when the commentators are silent for long stretches there is literally silence and when they do speak again they may comment on something that’s just been said in the film which we could not hear.

Approximately 15 minutes of delete scenes are also included; a couple more minutes of Julie StrainĀ  in which she shows us an old implant and we follow her through a topless photo shoot, 5 minutes more of Mamie Van Doren discussing her beginnings in film in greater detail and a handful of short extended scenes with Melonie in which she talks about health scares, previous employment and exercise. Plus a theatrical trailer.

Hardly groundbreaking or revelatory stuff it is nonetheless an interesting watch and never boring, exploitative or sensational with it’s subject matter.

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