Written by Mr. Skin
Published by St. Martin’s Griffin

As a classic film reminds us, there’s a fine line between clever and stupid. The folks behind MR. SKIN have found that line, danced up next to it, given it a teasing wink and a smile, yet have stayed on the clever side. That they have now gone into a second edition of their massive SKINCYCLOPEDIA is living proof of that.

What is Mr. Skin? Originally, merely a website. It’s purpose: to create a comprehensive listing of films in which actresses appeared nude or partially nude. Want to know where to see 30 ROCK’s Jane Krakowski naked? Look up her entry and find out she showed her rear end in the 2004 remake of Alfie. A fan of Anna Friel and her recent turn on PUSHING DAISIES? Then you’d be pleased to know that she’s done nudity in ten different films, including full frontal in both THE WAR BRIDE and THE TRIBE.

There are listings for over 2000 different actresses.

The entries are incredibly comprehensive. Birth date and birthplace. A rating on the “Skin-O-Meter” for the level of nudity achieved, ranked from “Brief” (i.e. Krakowski) to “Hall Of Fame” (see: Cates, Phoebe). A paragraph about the actress’ career, along with a description of roles and moments in her films. That’s followed by her “SKIN-fining Moment”, which describes in luscious detail (and with a listing for how long the moment lasts on-screen) the lady’s best naked moment, and then the entry concludes with a list of all films where flesh appears unclothed and what parts are available for viewing.

A fine line between clever and stupid.

There’s no question that the entire enterprise could be seen as one massively distasteful and sleazy deal. Yet the entries are written with such wit and humor that it is patently clear that Mr. Skin is not just the work of a group of serial wankers. Instead, there’s a bit of genuine thought and awe behind it. That’s enhanced by a plethora of ridiculously funny “lists” scattered throughout the book. These top-5 sets include categories such as: “70s TV Stars Who Got Naked”; “Naked Girls With Guy Names”; “Nude With Musical Instruments”; and my personal favorite, “Madges Who Show Vag”- a list of women named Margaret that have appeared bottomless on-screen.

Whether you want to admit it or not, that’s damned funny. And that’s what keeps MR. SKIN on the side of being clever. And if that isn’t enough for you, the book is almost 700 pages long; there are hours upon hours of reading here, and the length it will add to your… Netflix list… will be impressive.

Marc Mason