15 July 2015 | lor_
Excellent soap opera, well-cast
Nica Noelle handles the timeless theme of finding one's self via IN THE CLOSET, not a hard-hitting docu-style piece per its title but rather a gentle drama of lesbian sex.
Especially well-cast are leads Darla Crane (in the title role) and her pal Dyanna Lauren. Though the same age, they represent two eras of porn, Darla having spent her formative years working in the underground fetish world a la Bettie Page, while until recently Lauren was a star of boy/girl mainstream Adult entertainment. They meet up after Dyanna's recent vacation, and Lauren tells her friend how she was awakened to lesbian sex by a chance encounter.
Flashback shows Dyanna in the small hotel lobby struck by the beauty of young guest Sophia Jade. Accidentally going to the spa at the same time, Sophia tells the older woman that she's staying with extended family to attend her parents' wedding anniversary party. They end up in Dyanna's suite for a torrid sex scene, which Lauren describes as her "sexual rebirth". Noelle's clever script has some good lines here, such as when Darla warns: "Don't make it a habit to pick up strange young girls in hotels" and Lauren counters: "It's better than smoking".
Back in her office, Darla is attracted to young co-worker Gracie Glam, another big star in this feature's cast. At bedtime she discusses her conversation with Lauren with her unfeeling husband (Michael Whiteacre in a non-sex role). While he's sleeping beside her, Darla masturbates under the covers (very tastefully photographed PG-13 level scene) and doesn't get caught by him.
Next day at the office, Gracie is called into stern boss Magdalene St. Michaels's office, and receives an extremely unsubtle come-on by the mature doyenne of lesbian cinema. She resists mightily, but realizing her job's on the line ultimately succumbs to the predatory MSM, and eventually enjoys a strong sex scene. The issue of sexual harassment in the workplace is left hanging.
After washing out her mouth in the bathroom, Glam back at her desk exits work early as not feeling well, and tells Darla "I wish everyone was like you". Darla's in a bar featuring live entertainment, a fine guest cameo (uncredited) by Raven Rockette, playing guitar and singing a tortured folk ballad on unrequited love. (The challenge is to identify these guest shots, as generally porn stars not having sex in a video are not credited perhaps out of fairness to those unenlightened viewers who are ONLY interested in explicit sex.)
Darla sparks a conversation at the bar with a young, patrician-looking woman Faye Reagan. The structural switch here is that instead of the expected bar pick- up, Darla goes home, and after hours Faye hooks up with the bombshell bartender Jelena Jensen. Porn fans wouldn't be tripped up by this gambit, but I was briefly fooled, expecting Jelena to be just another uncredited extra like Rockette.
In the game room they go to shoot pool, and Jelena seduces Faye on a leather couch flanked by a vintage jukebox in the background. In a tradition that characterizes many a lesbian feature, all four leading ladies, especially Jensen, have very large breasts, though the Jensen/Reagan bout is not a case of older/younger.
Back home Darla finds Glam waiting on her doorstop, anxious to talk about her problems at work. Gracie admits to having wondered whether she was bisexual, but she wasn't attracted to boss Maggie. After plenty of verbal innuendo, she reveals that she was actually attracted to Darla: cue the XXX conclusion to the soap operatics. Again, director Nica takes poetic license in the prowess demonstrated by both Gracie and Darla in bed together, even though they are both supposedly neophytes to Sapphic sex. No words are spoken at the conclusion of this scene, but we have experienced several interesting examples of lesbian initiation.
Four years later (2017) Nica re-used this title for her new label Icon Male, treating the subject matter for boy/boy action. The same label also re-cycled her Hard Candy (boy/girl) title "Authority Figures" for a boy/boy version, but that project was assigned to her pinch-hitter Dana Vespoli to direct instead.