Hefner: Unauthorized (1999)

Run Time - 120 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG13
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Synopsis by Hal Erickson

Perhaps befitting its subject, this cable TV biopic of Playboy magazine maven Hugh Hefner is as glossy and superficial as Playboy itself. In the tradition of Sunset Blvd., the story is narrated by a dead person: Hefner's assistant, Bobbie Arnstein (Natasha Gregson Wagner), who killed herself in 1975 in the midst of a drug scandal at Playboy Enterprises. Hefner himself, played by Randall Batinkoff, is given a much happier denouement, when, after nearly 40 years of heading a publishing empire that has elevated the nudie-mag format into an empire, he surprises everyone by (briefly) giving up his notorious girl-chasing hedonism and weds Kimberly Conrad (Rebecca Romjin-Stamos). Since this film was shown on the basic-cable USA Network, there was no actual nudity, but plenty of implication along the way. Pauly Shore appears uncredited as legendary comedian Lenny Bruce, whom Hefner regularly featured on his early '60s TV variety show. Hefner: Unauthorized originally aired on December 12, 1999.