BRUCE R. MILLER
For those who didn’t get a chance to see “Pam & Tommy” when it premiered on Hulu, now is the time. Hitting the DVD market next week, it will give you the chance to see the mind-blowing nudity and untamed world of Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee.
Packed with all the trappings of the 1990s, it shows how two celebrities navigated the world of paparazzi, pornography, and advertising.
In short, he is as grown up as they are. In the very graphic mini-series (graphic NSFW level), we see the “married in a minute” relationship they had (she didn’t even know his real last name) and the attention they got when a contractor released a private sex tape for the internet. .
The world wide web, as you may remember, was in its infancy then and just about anything could call it home.
The tape, it seems, was a natural. Since he couldn’t get a video distributor to sell it, Rand Gauthier (Seth Rogen) took advantage of “new media” and, well, the rest is history.
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Directed by Craig Gillespie and written by Robert D. Siegel, the miniseries closely resembles Gillespie’s look at Tonya Harding, “I, Tonya.”
Filled with quirky supporting characters and quirkiness to match the themes, “Pam & Tommy” thrives on the performances of its two leads.
Lily James is so much like Anderson that you’ll think you’re looking at stock footage. Sebastian Stan, as Lee, exhibits such abandon (and that’s using the term loosely), you’ll wonder why he hasn’t been in more sitcoms.
Still, there are plenty of nudity, profanity, and OMG moments to make you think twice about recommending this to someone who might be offended. If you’re wondering if the two characters go “there,” yes, they do.
Starring in “Baywatch,” Anderson longs to do more than jump on the beach. She gets a monologue, tries it out on Lee and assumes she’s going to see her luck change. Because we know better, the scenes unfold better than we imagined. James is amazing, capturing every pose, hair flip and flirtatious move. Stan is more transfixed, in large part because he paints Lee as a demanding egoist who doesn’t notice how he gets out of it. While all the nudity (presumably with prosthetics) is unnecessary, it does give audiences a glimpse into a world most never knew.
Meanwhile, Rogen is like Harding’s husband and his friends all rolled into one. When she becomes the target of Lee’s whims, the theme of revenge comes up.
Because Lee changes his mind more than his thong changes, he is seen as a spoiled rocker. Stan still makes it fun to watch, but then again, get ready for some X-rated shenanigans that will have you wondering what didn’t get on the stolen tape.
When Nick Offerman shows up (as a porn producer helping Rogen), you’ll see where “Boogie Nights” influenced.
What is surprising is how good “Pam & Tommy” is. It’s not just a way to cash in on two headline grabbers. It’s a chance to understand what drove them and how they reacted when others moved on.
It also provides insight into the Wild West world of the web. Because there were no ground rules when the Internet began, nothing was off limits.
Now when we see the damage it has done, it is clear that some limits should have been put in place, particularly when people think they can post anything without verifying the information.