Critics Pan 'Filthy Gorgeous: The Bob Guccione Story'

Rhett Pardon

TORONTO  —  The world premiere of "Filthy Gorgeous: The Bob Guccione Story" at the Toronto International Film Festival didn't captivate movie critics.

In several reviews today, Canadian reviewers disclose that the movie about Penthouse magazine has got problems.

The National Post called it a "warts-and-all profile" of the Penthouse founder that is a "remarkably incurious feature-length documentary" that "robs a dynamic character who embodied a lot of interesting late 20th-century social debates of any context or content of his life."

"All that’s left is a timeline of events with talking heads, a formless hagiography that mostly serves to make Guccione seem like the one thing he most emphatically was not: uninteresting."

Toronto Star called the Canadian movie by filmmaker Barry Avrich "a tough sell."

"Guccione’s gold chains and Caligula film misadventure scream sleaze — and Avrich isn’t interested in exploring any of the more negative aspects of the man’s life," the Star said.

Produced, written and directed by Avrich, "Filthy Gorgeous" is a Melbar Entertainment Group production in association with EPIX, Astral’s The Movie Network and Corus Entertainment’s Movie Cental, with funding from Rogers Telefund, CAVCO and the OMDC.

Penthouse magazine was founded in 1965 by Guccione as a randier competitor to Playboy magazine.

The adult publication grossed at least $3.5 billion during its run under Guccione. He resigned from Penthouse International in 2004. He died six years later.

A YouTube video here includes an interview with Avrich discussing the movie.