2 August 2016 | lor_
Mechanical sex, as James Avalon strays further from his true calling
I'm tentatively blaming peer pressure for the current mid-life career change that director James Avalon has embarked upon, having made a dozen or more all-sex videos in the past year after a couple of decades' success with traditional story-line Adult content. I can just imagine all his buddies (and femme helmers for that matter) joking behind his back how he was stuck in the 20th Century with outmoded notions of what a porn film should be.
I'm forever wedded to the camp that reveres Adult Cinema as a logical extension of mainstream filmmaking, with explicit sexual content added to the auteur's tool kit. The fact that over 20 years of gonzo and a recent preference for jettisoning story material (with the exception of those horrible rip-offs of scripts euphemistically termed "parodies") altogether has won over a new generation of fans doesn't sway me in the least.
But Avalon, after making nearly 100 story features for Mile High Media over the past four years, carrying on in the footsteps at Nica Noelle's Sweet Sinner and Sweetheart Video labels after NN moved on, has opted to churn out similar but script-free videos for different Mile High subsidiaries like Erotica X. The results are underwhelming and deadly dull.
Using the same crew as always, the craftsmanship is there. But the commitment is not -these popular actors do their thing but purely mechanical sex is no substitute for the drama and occasional humor of earlier Avalon features.
Porn's currently hottest commodity Leah Gotti gets the lead part, and is a warm, engaging presence. Too bad she has not been assigned an actual acting role, to create a character. Instead she's merely improvising lame dialog as Seth Gamble's better half, the talented young (but aging as we speak) actor now stuck with bad haircuts to differentiate him from the Seth Gamble we knew and admired.
They drive to a resort and as the title suggests, swinging and wife swapping inevitably result, in the obligatory 4th sex scene's group sex set in a hot tub. They trade off with the couple Damon Dice and Sophia Leone, neither of whom can act at all, even in this minimalist "no acting required" setting. Leone in particular swallows all her lines, perhaps best suited for a future in Brit Porn where the heavy regional accents have long since made listening to conversations a futile pursuit.
En route to this ho-hum finish, we do get a nice soft-core interlude, in which Gotti and Leone do synchronized Yoga poses and stretches outdoors on their yoga mats. This conforms with the throwback to the '60s overall feel of this feature, an example of the Lifestyle Porn that was so popular way back when.
One sex vignette, placed after the opening loving couple hook-up between Gotti and Gamble, gives Avalon a chance to shake off a bit of ring rust in the director's chair by staging a flashback within a flashback. Scene depicts a threesome involving Gia Paige, James Deen and Kimmy Granger, in which Deen's habitual muttering directions spoils an otherwise arousing sex bout, and he is briefly blindfolded for a requisite kink lite bit of content.
Other sex scene has Jenna Sativa and Gotti in a lesbian clinch in the shower, certainly a crowd pleaser in lieu of narrative content. As if I needed reminding of "The Good Old Days", Jane Hamilton/Veronica Hart pops up momentarily and uncredited as a waitress at the resort, from which I could infer she also served in her latter-day role as production manager on the shoot.
It adds up to less than nothing, but given Gotti's current mega-popularity this junker probably "flew off the shelves", to quote the appropriate and all-important industry cliché. So what if it is just another among thousands of interchangeable nothing videos that typify recent release schedules?