The late Paul G. Vatelli (who died of an AIDS-related illness somewhere in the mid-'80s) may not have been an overly talented filmmaker in the adult field but he had at least one enviable gift that set him apart from much of the competition. He could really create a sensuous mood through a combination of lighting and cinematography (he started out a DoP and fulfilled that function on his own directorial efforts), editing and music, giving birth to some of the more successful "couples films" of the period. He always made female performers look their best by putting them in frilly Frederick's of Hollywood type lingerie with tastefully subtle hair and make up to match. Along with BODIES IN HEAT and STIFF COMPETITION, I LIKE TO WATCH makes for a triumvirate of his very best work.
Beautiful but shy Laura (Bridgette Monet in one of her better performances) works for her fashion designer aunt (fiery Pat Manning, a mature actress in the Georgina Spelvin league) and leads a sheltered existence devoid of sexual attention, even from her divorced older boyfriend (Mike Horner, then still billed as "Don Hart") who refuses to put the moves on her out of what he considers respect. Deeply frustrated, the girl turns to spying on her aunt making out with her illicit lover (Herschel Savage) in a scene that proves yet again that older women can still teach the younger generation a thing or two about lovemaking. Auntie's assistant Kim (the incredible not to mention aptly named Little Oral Annie) has her wicked way with the well-endowed gas man (the late Kevin James) and with German maid Gretchen (Anne-Lise Pearson or "Anna Pierce" as she's credited here) as "punishment" for peeping through the keyhole. Horner gets over his hangups with able assistance from lingerie models Honey (one shot wonder Elaine De Santis) and Honey (busty Linda Shaw, the girl on the cable TV show in Brian De Palma's BODY DOUBLE) while Laura finds liberation in the arms and between the legs of her aunt's special customer Lisa DeLeeuw (doing the first of her long line of girl/girl numbers with Monet) and her younger lover Montag (Mr. Monet, Dave Cannon, and was the writer perhaps a fan of Herschel Gordon Lewis for naming this character after THE WIZARD OF GORE ?) as the deadline for this year's collection draws near. The fashion show director wearing sunglasses is actually Vatelli making a fleeting appearance.
There's some silly T&A comedy involving a couple of horny janitors and a gaggle of topless models who don't appear in any of the explicit scenes, making one wonder whether Vatelli perhaps entertained plans of doing an R-rated PORKY'S style farce at some point in the production. We never get to see the show in question (a strange oversight) but cut immediately to Horner turning up and somewhat forcefully engaging in sexual intercourse with his neglected lady love.
For the record, this is the only film apart from Tim McDonald's TALK DIRTY TO ME, PART II (her debut) where Monet has sex with another guy than her husband, probably the main reason why critics and fans soured on her so quickly. In her defense, she had mostly hot sex with Cannon over the years (Ron Sullivan's BABYLON BLUE most definitely excluded) and I felt her tremendous beauty usually made up for the lack of variation in sexual partners. Another stumbling block was her high-pitched, squeaky voice which her fans got to hear for the first time as she had been dubbed by a professional actress for the part of the radio sex show therapist in TALK DIRTY II. Other than that, she's really not too bad a thespian and her wickedly fun turn as Texas oral queen Linda Lonestar in Vatelli's STIFF COMPETITION proved at least her willingness to learn and grow in that capacity.
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