4.1/10
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8 user 1 critic

Mutual Needs (1997)

Michael hires Charlene through an escort agency to pretend to be his girlfriend at his class reunion. She turns out to be the life of the party, and even convinces his old schoolmate Brandon to give him a great job. Now he owes her.

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, (as Dode Levinson)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Michael (as Eric Woods)
Tricia Lee Pascoe ...
Sandra
...
Pete
...
Helen
Rochelle Swanson ...
Charlene
Sydney Coale ...
Josie (as Sydney Coale Phillips)
Kimberly Kelley ...
Kelly
...
Bartender
...
Brandon Collier
...
Louise Collier
...
Patricia (as Dee Wallace-Stone)
...
Andrew
...
Kimberly
...
Rita
Seth Walther ...
Mitch
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Storyline

Michael hires Charlene through an escort agency to pretend to be his girlfriend at his class reunion. She turns out to be the life of the party, and even convinces his old schoolmate Brandon to give him a great job. Now he owes her.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sexuality, and for some language | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

30 March 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Schön und raffiniert  »

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User Reviews

More Like Mutual of Omaha
27 January 2000 | by See all my reviews



Whenever the Playboy logo appears on screen, the viewer is alerted that what follows will be professionally staged and directed. The cast will be attractive and will include some well-known people from the second or third tier (here it's Richard Grieco, on a break from shooting " A Night At The Roxbury"). Their acting will be above par, and the love scenes will be tastefully done, integral to the plot, and non-gratuitous. Think of it as an OSHA warning or the little note from the Surgeon General on that pack of Marlboros.

There's really not much here for fans of late-night cable weirdness. We have the story of a corporate drone who, with the help of Rent-A-Babe, re-invents himself for his tenth year reunion party, The rented babe however turns out to be a wicked and manipulative siren leading our poor sap into the ruin of Chapter 11. If you're looking for a compelling movie on the theme of a Wicked Woman leading a Good Man astray, "Out Of The Past" with Robert Mitchum and Jane Greer is the perfect choice. If you're looking for gratuitous nudity and cheap thrills, Playboy has a whole series of hot-body videos. But this trite hybrid is neither convincing drama nor sufficiently prurient trash.

The only wild card in this dull hand is the presence of Rochelle Swanson as the wicked woman, Charlene. Rochelle is a lush brunette, who could easily reign as Queen of Late-Night Cable Land, were it not for a certain deadly coyness. Exhibit A is a torrid private dance for our victim. Admittedly, she looks terrific in black and the garter-belt, stockings and high heels are a nice fetish touch. But after a few charming moves, only the bra disappears and the scene segues into another routine session of bumping bodies.

In Exhibit B, our hero comes home early and finds Charlene with her partner in crime, Josie (played by Sydney Coale Phillips). The suggestion is subtle; they look fetching in their midriff-baring outfits and presumably they weren't discussing Hegelian dialectic upstairs. But we never get to see the footage from the bedroom cam and so we wonder why the notion was introduced.

The final nail in the coffin has Charlene showing up at the office, wearing only a fur coat and bringing a mid-day snack. She quickly loses the coat and for a brief moment, the scene seems full of promise. We are treated to a lingering shot of her enchanting backside as she shows off the Daily Special. But as she moves in, the camera suddenly gets coy and hastily arranges contrivances to block any explicit views. It reminds me of that running gag in the Austin Powers' movies as Mike Myers, ostensibly nude, wanders through a room filled with objects strategically placed between the camera and his private parts. In Austin Powers One and Two, the device is funny and Freudian. Here it's just clumsy.

This Puritanism seems quaintly retro in a Nineties Playboy product. In the late Sixties, Playboy pushed at the edge of explicitness in men's magazines until full frontal nudity became commonplace. Now famous figure skaters and fading starlets routinely appear nude in Playboy and the other magazines look like Ob-Gyn Journals. Thirty years later, the camera demurely blocks an explicit shot, like a blushing geisha.

Part of the explanation may be in Rochelle's other film credits. The IMDb lists a lot of items with the words "secret" and "indecent" and numbers in their titles, all part of the Shannon Tweed franchise. It's hard to imagine that, not long ago, Shannon Tweed was the benchmark for late-night cable. But then again, not long ago, 166MHz was considered to be a powerhouse processor.

Times change.


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