Mixed or average reviews - based on 16 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 16
  2. Negative: 0 out of 16

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Critic Reviews

  1. 80
    If your sole image of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner is that of a lanky, silk-jammied sybarite strolling the grounds of his mansion with a jiggling blond on either arm, Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist and Rebel will knock your socks off.
  2. Yet as ridiculous as Hefner's life sometimes seems, he has been an exemplary citizen, as this documentary by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Brigitte Berman spells out.
  3. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Watching the film is like reading Playboy for the articles.
  4. The film is at its most potent delineating Hefner's role in the American civil rights movement, going beyond the pages of his magazine.
  5. As for the man who invented it all, he remains a mystery in the film, living out his days in sybaritic bliss.
  6. Unfortunately, Berman skips past the darker implications of Hefner's sexual universe and omits discussion of how the periodical business -- and access to erotic imagery -- has changed in the Internet age. Still, the movie remains an involving look at an American icon as well as an adept snapshot of our national zeitgeist from the McCarthy era through the Reagan years.
  7. The Hefner we meet here is the likable rogue we already know.

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