Tim McDonald was a minor league Golden Age porn director who arrived on the scene with a bang (sorry about that one !) with 1982's excellent TALK DIRTY TO ME 2 which also introduced a waiting world to the fickle talents of soon to become one man woman Bridgette Monet. Though credited to "(Colonel) Robert E. Freeman", a pseudonym more commonly associated with the film's producer David Friedman, the following year's equally fine ALEXANDRA was also helmed by McDonald and that's where most carnal critics draw the line as far as career highlights are concerned. While later titles like BLONDE HEAT and BEYOND DESIRE prove tired efforts with little to recommend them besides their star casts, this PLAY ME AGAIN, VANESSA actually stands out as an unheralded little gem that seemingly has it all : a funny story (loosely based on, as if you couldn't guess, the Woody Allen/Diane Keaton romantic comedy classic PLAY IT AGAIN, SAM), fine acting from all the leads, solid production values and a good dose of scorching sex.
Curvy cutie Taija Rae, next to the Lynn sisters (Ginger & Amber) and the soon to be revealed as underage Traci Lords the most popular porno starlet of the mid-1980s, plays a frumpy secretary who spends most of her free time obsessively gazing at the video image of screen seductress extraordinaire Vanessa Del Rio, looking for guidance to snare French playboy François Papillon. While the attempts by her saucy roommate Melissa Melendez (a heart-stopping Latin beauty who played Barbara the Lobster Woman in Alex De Renzy's DR. PENETRATION) to lure her away from the tube prove fruitless, some tasty girl on girl lovemaking notwithstanding, Taija gets her wish when Vanessa pops out of the TV set to instruct our lovelorn heroine in the ways of the flesh.
Though both Taija and Melissa have their hot moments, this predictably turns out to be mostly Vanessa's show sexually and is certainly none the worse for that. She goes one on one with stalwart Joey Silvera and black midget Louis De Jesus but it's in the group scenes she really excels. The deliberately cheesy space ship number with Marc Wallice and D.J. Cone is funny rather than hot but the subsequent trio that involves Our Lady of Perpetual Lust with Paul Thomas and Dan T. Mann (the blond Marlboro Man type who was with Ginger Lynn in De Renzy's BALL BUSTERS) proves one hell of a scorcher, surpassed only by the blue collar factory orgy sequence with Lili Marlene, Jon Martin, humongously hung Dick Rambone and a hot blonde uncredited in any source I've been able to lay my hands on who does an amazing job virtually inhaling that same large member. Some highly quotable funny lines sprinkled throughout assure that Vanessa moves well beyond the meat puppet status and really comes alive as a character. My personal favorite is when she replies to Taija's request to keep her fingers crossed that she would keep her legs crossed as well if she didn't have her reputation to consider !
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