10 December 2016 | lor_
A for Stormy's craftsmanship, but C- for creativity
I hope to watch all of Stormy Daniels' features some day, as she is not merely prolific but a talented filmmaker on the Adult scene, among the few that always makes story-line features. But "Change of Heart" reflects once again her Achilles Heel - a willingness to settle for a merely adequate script (of her own creation) and perfunctory casting & execution.
That's a shame, since she is technically well-prepared for a mainstream crossover, but in mainstream Hollywood both the cast and director are expected to deliver more, unless cranking out direct-to-video action fodder.
Stormy casts a Wicked Pictures contract girl Samantha Saint in the major role, one which she would have undoubtedly played herself a few years earlier. It's not ageism, even self-imposed, as Stormy casts herself as Saint's older sister, a friendly but rather nothing role.
Film begins dramatically with Saint being chased down a graffiti-covered alley and nearly raped by a hooded man, until another guy in a hoodie (Brendon Miller, one of Stormy's favorite actors for reasons I have yet to fathom) saves her bacon. Perhaps the script's weakest element is that the mystery criminal is never found or even brought back into the plot at all, and the possibility that this might have been staged (to make savior Miller look good) never entertained.
Instead we get a straight-forward romantic soap opera, suitable for late-night pay-cable showings. Saint, who is a dedicated social worker, encounters Miller randomly at a cafe several times and we have to wait till the end of the show for their inevitable rom-com hook-up and sex scene to provide the requisite happy ending.
What happens in between is desultory and never interesting enough to justify making it into the final shooting script. To provide five sex scenes (just barely -there is some cheating on the director's part to flesh out the XXX requirements), we have Saint engaged to Logan Pierce, causing her instant conflicts regarding the budding romance with Miller; extraneous but hot sex scene of their also engaged friends Bailey Blue and Xander Corvus; Xander's throwing a bachelor party which includes infidelity of Logan with Anikka Albrite the party girl (hard to pass up, nay impossible in a porno flick); and a treacly subplot involving Miller and his estranged dad Kyle Stone.
Saint is far too beautiful in a plastic, fake sense, to pass for the heroines she plays for Wicked; unlike Stormy who made her name and fame doing just that. Saint has no personality and is not a skilled actress, reminding me of Summer Brielle who has overwhelming screen presence but is strictly 2-dimensional, suitable for the gonzo generation and not us Old School story/character fans. Miller on the other hand has acting chops but a pug-ugly physical aspect and I don't care how many times the girls on screen comment on how handsome he is - he ain't. Stormy's repeated casting of him in romantic roles reminds me of those days, so long ago, when Tommy Lee Jones was cast as a romantic stud (think the camp classic "The Betsy") instead of the character actor that he really is.
The "who's dat?" moment comes here with a non-sex supporting role by a familiar face as Samantha's forlorn lady client, a former drug addict trying to move up from her tenement life. End credits reveal a big surprise, that it is Devon Lee, virtually unrecognizable without makeup and not showing those massive moneymakers that made her a superstar a decade before.