Anderson, a director who makes no secret of his admiration for both Scorsese and the similarly iconic Robert Altman is clearly talented but here, rather than being his own man, he only succeeds in flattering his idols.
A searing indictment of not only the adult entertainment industry, but the whole value-free Hollywood lifestyle of the late 1970s and 1980s. At the same time it has a certain sympathy for its characters.
I understand what Anderson is trying to show -- that none of these folks are likely to meet with a good end -- but the last hour or so of the film drags on and on, violently and eventually pointlessly.
On top of some preposterous and near-fatal plotting errors, Anderson makes the mistake of creating too many characters (supporting stars Graham and Cheadle don't get enough to do, while William H. Macy is wasted for the sake of a punchline).
Boogie Nights at heart is the story about a group of characters and the de facto family that emerges from their relationship. A stunning ensemble of actors is essential to creating this seamless world.