×

Sexy Baby

Scrutinizing the impact of pervasive sexuality in the media on women's self-image, "Sexy Baby" intercuts the stories of three females of different ages: a semi-retired stripper/porn star in her 30s, a bright New York tween and a twentysomething kindergarten teaching assistant desperate for a designer vagina.

With:
With: Winnifred Bonjean-Alpart, Jennifer Bonjean, Ken Alpart, Nichole Romagna, Dave Romagna, Laura Castle, Terry Castle, Dr. Bernard Stern.

Scrutinizing the impact of pervasive sexuality in the media on women’s self-image, “Sexy Baby” intercuts the stories of three females of different ages: a semi-retired stripper/porn star in her 30s, a bright New York tween and a twentysomething kindergarten teaching assistant desperate for a designer vagina. Unevenly structured, the segments differ greatly in length and relevance. Nevertheless, the rich paradoxes and remarkable ambivalences provided by the aforementioned tween, whose development the film most closely chronicles, could give “Baby” a bump in limited theatrical play and ancillary.

Given shortest shrift of the three protags is Laura Castle, defined almost exclusively by her belief that happiness entirely depends on an expensive labiaplasty; her image of how she should look “down there” has been firmly ingrained due to the Internet porn her boyfriends peruse. Her mother, cluelessly supportive, accompanies her on successive stages of the procedure, graphically captured here by directors Jill Bauer and Ronna Gradus (journalists making their docu debut). Male teens speak knowingly oncamera about their definitive, idealized visions of women’s genitalia, acquired without the benefit of any sexual experience.

Nichole Romagna, a more interesting subject, teaches pole dancing to housewives and runs an agency for strippers with her husband. She offers insights into the influence of the Internet on the average women’s self-image, expounding on her firm belief that sexual media should target adults only, and that teens’ first encounters with sex should not be computer-enabled. But the fruits of her experience soon take a backseat to her and her hubby’s overriding desire for a baby, the film inexplicably veering off onto their obstacle-strewn road to parenthood.

Bauer and Gradus follow the docu’s undisputed star, Winnifred Bonjean-Alpart, from age 12 to 14, with mind-boggling changes marking every step of the way. Her progressive, amicably divorced parents prove almost equally compelling; indeed, the filmmakers would have been well advised to jettison the other segments and concentrate on this one.

At 12, flat-chested Bonjean-Alpart dedicates herself to gymnastics, feminism and theater (the docu samples scenes from a feminist musical she wrote and stars in), interacting closely with her parents and displaying clear self-awareness. At 13, she dons a short, sexy black dress with fishnet stockings for her bat mitzvah; her mother, a criminal defense attorney sporting a “not guilty” tattoo, is similarly attired. A Lady Gaga concert at Madison Square Garden finds Bonjean-Alpart dressed in strapless top and abbreviated skirt, to her father’s growing consternation. Supposedly incidentally, the filmmakers also catch the teen’s much younger sister, Myrtle, mimicking erotic dances in the living room.

By 14, Bonjean-Alpart spends a third of her time on the Internet; she gives up gymnastics and, in her newly busty incarnation, spends hours with her BFF, taking pictures in sexy poses to post online. The girl’s mind/body conflict unfolds with increasing drama as her libido and peer pressure pull her in one direction, while her analytic consciousness tugs her in another.

Though the helmers resist superimposing text/graphics or using narration to push a particular viewpoint, the filmmaking never registers as objective.

Popular on Variety

Sexy Baby

Documentary

Production: A Two to Tangle production in association with Fork Films. Produced by Jill Bauer, Ronna Gradus, Brittany Huckabee. Executive producer, Abigail E. Disney, Chandra Jesse. Co-producer, Daniel Raiffe. Directed by Jill Bauer, Ronna Gradus.

Crew: Camera (color, HD), Gradus; editor, Brittany Huckabee; music, Paul Brill; sound, Jill Bauer, Margaret Crimmins, Greg Smith Reviewed at the Quad Cinema, New York, Oct. 21, 2012. Running time: 83 MIN.

With: With: Winnifred Bonjean-Alpart, Jennifer Bonjean, Ken Alpart, Nichole Romagna, Dave Romagna, Laura Castle, Terry Castle, Dr. Bernard Stern.

More Film

  • Mackenzie Davis Terminator Dark Fate

    ‘Terminator: Dark Fate’ Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending

    In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by the always-on TV ad measurement and attribution company iSpot.tv, Paramount Pictures claims the top spot in spending with “Terminator: Dark Fate.” Ads placed for the sci-fi action film had an estimated media value of $6.81 million through Sunday for 796 national ad airings [...]

  • Judy & Punch review

    Damon Herriman Stands Out as 'The Nightingale' and 'Lambs of God' Lead AACTA Nominations

    Dark thriller, “The Nightingale” and miniseries “Lambs of God” lead the pack at the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards. In nominations announced on Wednesday, they picked up 15 and 18 nods, respectively. Jennifer Kent’s “The Nightingale” was one of six films nominated in the best film category. With others including Mirrah Foulkes’ [...]

  • Daisy Ridley is Rey in STAR

    'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker' Scores Best First-Day Atom Ticket Sales for a 'Star Wars' Film

    Disney-Lucasfilm’s “Star Wars: The Rise of the Skywalker” has racked up the best first day of advance ticket sales for a “Star Wars” movie ticketed by Atom. Sales launched during the half time of ESPN’s “Monday Night Football.” Atom’s overall first-day record was set in April by Disney-Marvel’s “Avengers: Endgame.” But “Star Wars: The Rise of [...]

  • Cardi B

    Cardi B Joins Vin Diesel in 'Fast & Furious 9'

    Cardi B has joined the cast of Universal’s “Fast & Furious 9” in an undisclosed role. It’s the rapper’s first movie part since her role as the stripper Diamond in STX’s drama “Hustlers.” Vin Diesel disclosed the casting Tuesday in a post on his Instagram account with a video that showed him and Cardi B [...]

  • James Wan

    Film News Roundup: James Wan's Horror Thriller 'Malignant' Gets August Release

    In today’s film news roundup, James Wan’s “Malignant” gets a late-summer release, a Rita Hayworth documentary is shooting and Women in Animation have announced diversity awards winners. RELEASE DATE Warner Bros. has set an Aug. 14 release date for James Wan’s horror thriller “Malignant.” Wan will direct the movie, based on a story by Wan [...]

  • Michael Shannon Benedict Cumberbatch Tuppence Middleton

    How Martin Scorsese Saved 'Current War' From Harvey Weinstein

    Director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon finally gets to release his version of his long-in-the-making “The Current War.” The film, about the competition between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse, was originally set to be distributed by the Weinstein Company after Harvey Weinstein recut it, much to Gomez-Rejon’s chagrin. To make matters worse, Weinstein premiered the movie at the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content