So I figure that there comes a time when every respectable critic has to stop indulging himself or herself and go see one of those damn critically acclaimed movies. And I probably should too. I mean heck, critically acclaimed kinda implies critics and them's my peers!

So with a heavy heart, and a remorseful look at the line for Turbulence (I don't care how bad a movie is, if it's got an upside-down plane, it's a-ok in my book.) I purchased my tickets for one of the most widely respected movies of the year, The People Vs. Larry Flynt.

It's Porn!!!!

How did this happen? At what point did God lean down from the heavens and give us a nudie pic that we're all supposed to go see? Because make no mistake about it, this baby's a nudie pic. I mean you got yer titties, you got yer bare butt-ocks, you even got a couple quick shots of yinny!

And that means porn.

See, this movie is the true story of Larry Flynt, creator of that bastion of literary entertainment, Hustler Magazine. Larry creates the magazine one fateful day to boost attendance at his strip club--lots of good smut shots there--and the magazine becomes the conglomerate it is today. Along the way he gets in a lot of trouble for doing things that, quite frankly, are unnatural, unhealthy and not necessarily physically possible without the help of a lot of lubricant.

See, the movie hangs on two themes: his love of his strung-out, slut-stripper wife, and his First Amendment battles against, primarily, Jerry Falwell. These battle take him all the way to the Supreme Court, and are the cause of all the darned critical acclaim. See, critics love First Amendment battles because, quite frankly, without that little amendment, us critics would all get sued 1,000 times a day and be broker faster than you can say "libel."

OK, Courtney Love, who I hate with a passion, is naked for most of the movie, which I like. Woody Harrleson, who I am ambivalent towards, is a big fat pervert, which is to be expected. Edward Norton, who I like more and more, is an honest and decent lawyer, which is a paradox.

Is this a very well done movie? Yes. It's powerful, poignant, and purty. Did I like it? Uhm...yeah. I guess. In all honesty, whatever rating I end up giving it (like the suspense?), if you're into meaningful movies, you'll like it more.

Of course, I have to like it, I mean it's Porn!!!!

But is it quality porn? That's a question every naked pervert has to answer for himself. I'd have to say yes, except for the one tiny drug scene, which made my stomach go queasy and I had to go to the bathroom and splash water on my face.

So I may have missed a couple of scenes.

All told (and I sure am taking a strange road to that end, aren't I?), this movie gets 3 Babylons from me. It may well win Academy Award stuff, and it has a great nipple per scene ratio, but in the end, the only thing keeping it from being a chick flick are the notable absence of panty lines.

Editor's Note:

This has been the first in a series of three "Quality Film" reviews. See, we made the Critic go see some highly touted films to gauge his reaction to decent movie making. We won't tell ya what the other two are, you'll just have to wait and see.

Of course that's all contingent on him not sneaking away for a matinee of Turbulence or The Relic. Or, God forbid, Beverly Hills Ninja.