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The Boston Globe


Movie Review

‘The Look of Love’ is skin deep

For more than 10 years, prolific British director Michael Winterbottom and comic actor Steve Coogan have collaborated in some of the funnier, more penetrating looks at the seedier side of British pop culture. Coogan has played raffish music impresario Tony Wilson in Winterbottom’s “24 Hour Party People” (2002), he’s played himself in “Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story” (2005), and himself again in “The Trip” (2010).

In “The Look of Love,” the director and actor combine for a biopic of the British porn king and real estate mogul Paul Raymond, a sharpie who rose from putting on nudie reviews in Soho to become the richest man in England — but, frankly, the guy just isn’t very interesting. Although Raymond’s career extended over five decades of London sleaze, decadence, and celebrity, neither director nor actor provide much insight into the man or his times, not to mention the significance of Raymond’s prime product: high-class smut. This is no “The People vs. Larry Flynt” (1996), or even “Mrs. Henderson Presents” (2005).

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