Most of us know the story of Hugh Hefner: he built an empire around the naughty things that people thought about but rarely talked about in the 1950s. He got accused of being a smuggler peddler, arrested for peddling said “smut,” and bedded anything with DDs for decades. Nothing new here… What is so surprising about this docu-series is how incredibly bland it makes his storied life. Hef has hardly had a staid life and yet the folks from Playboy’s own Alta Loma Entertainment don’t really titillate or entertain here.
What is very odd about the series is that, cut between the news footage and interviews, there’s an actor portraying Hefner and it’s his voice in the voiceovers – but we still hear Hefner in the interviews. And, inexplicably, it’s he who we see set up the funding, start the magazine, build the empire and have sex with topless blondes and brunettes. Like we needed a visual reminder that Hef got lots of Mad Men-era bunny tail.
Really, really short review: American Playboy is rather flaccid.