I intended to spend five minutes checking out this movie ... hard to resist what looked to be 130 minutes of naked actors. Mick LaSalle turned up right away as a talking head, discussing pre-Code pictures, and I stuck around a bit more. Next thing I knew, there was only half-an-hour to go, and no reason not to finish.
Skin is more than an easy way for voyeurs to check out nude celebrities. It is actually a decent overview of the topic. It stretches itself a bit thin in the attempt to cover everything from the late-19th century to today, but it might inspire someone to study the subject in a more detailed fashion. (It seems to be impossible to avoid double entendre here.) As far as I could tell, the history is accurate, and I learned a few things.
But ultimately, Skin is pretty much what I expected in the beginning: a chance to show a lot of naked actors. The presence of Mr. Skin (aka Jim McBride) in the credits as an executive producer is telling. The movie doesn't offer much more than the Mr. Skin website, although again, the history is accurate enough. But the history is there to excuse the nudity. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
There is an attempt to address #MeToo that doesn't leer, and that's welcomed. And the list of talking heads goes beyond what you'd expect, not only such stars of film nudity as Linda Blair, Pam Grier, and Malcolm McDowell, but also directors like Martha Coolidge (Valley Girl) and Amy Heckerling (Fast Times at Ridgemont High). Skins ends up being a little better than I expected.