Releases like "Illicit" tarnish the reputation of filmmaker Paul Thomas, known for his well-made and insightful features directed in a career spanning over three decades.
The useless script by Tony G. is the springboard for a series of nonsensical scenes in which the characters' actions (and dialog) is never credible, just an excuse for generic sex footage. So the industry's chief awards body nominated all four principals for acting awards despite their poor performances.
It turns out to be merely the second half of a project released piecemeal, the first part called (meaninglessly) "Grudge", and explained away by Mercedez in the BTS short subject as just a porn-parody of Mike Nichols' mainstream play to feature film "Closer". Who's kidding who?
It's all about jealousy, but I wonder if PT ever questioned if a scene was working, whether the continuity was intact, and if anything made actual psychological sense. Instead we have two maniacally jealous husbands whose behavior and reactions is random, and circumstances that never flow.
There are no characterizations to speak of, merely an introductory pool party scene (very poorly photographed in Blurrovision by the usually reliable Ralph Parfait) in which Mercedez signs autographs as a famous author. Her husband Trent Tesoro ends up with beauty Stefani Morgan (who gets top billing, unearned) while Morgan's better half Kurt Lockwood ends up bedding down Mercedez.
With a tiny cast, PT shuffles the sex partners to kill off an hour and a half and unforgivably wastes entirely the best player in the bunch, young & spectacularly pretty Samantha Ryan. As a judge of talent our auteur fails miserably, because Ryan, already with dozens of early nothing roles under her belt, was soon to become a first-class star and lesbian icon.
Mercedez has expressed often (see her in BTS short subjects) a disdain for dialog, and PT gives her very little here, throwing several scenes out of kilter as she fails to answer any nasty remarks thrown at her by either Kurt or Trent. A key plot device in which Stefani disappears from the action, only to reappear (a couple of times) first as a stripper doing lap dances at a club and claiming to be someone named Sonja, and later to resume center stage for a dumb ending, is very poorly developed -both badly written and directed. The show's structure is haphazard and clearly we're left with a Vivid video meant only for excerpting individual scenes to showcase the two contract ladies.
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