Respected adult actor Paul Thomas had just started on his meteoric rise to directorial brilliance when he shot a charming little sleeper called ROMEO & JULIET for Western Visuals, the video production company run by Jerome Tannenbaum a/k/a "Jerome Tanner". It told of the woes an amateur drama company encounters in trying to mount a production of said play when crew and cast members seem more interested in getting into each other's pants rather than delivering lines.
This superior sequel to P.T.'s already above average original has the same theatrical troupe reviving Shakespeare's classic romance one year later, now with new and painfully shy leading lady Aja, who had been catapulted towards sex industry stardom following her scorching performance in Edwardo Dinero's steamy MOONSTROKED. As his Romeo (a youthful and effortlessly charming Tom Byron) appears quite smitten with the girl, this is not to the taste of director Bill, well played by an uncharacteristically subdued Jamie Gillis, who would rather see his latest squeeze essay the part. A comically irritating Method actress, she's vividly brought to life by one of the industry's most underrated actresses, fiery redhead Jacqueline Lorians who did some of her best work in a little-known "Jerome Bronson" (and could that possibly be the mysterious yet much alluded to mostly by himself porno name of lower rung auteur Dave DeCoteau ?) gem of a movie called THE LOVE SCENE. With director and male lead at loggerheads and star and understudy continually switching places, it looks like matters couldn't get much worse so the spirit of the "real" Juliet (the justly award-winning Ariel Knight, a tremendous actress as Sam Weston's surprisingly thoughtful PORTRAIT OF A NYMPH eloquently illustrates) steps in to save the day while simultaneously striking a blow for true love as Aja is touchingly wooed by leading man Tom Byron.
A wonderful script by Rick Marx, who penned several of Chuck Vincent's finer films, coupled with classy production and career best performances especially Knight and Lorians make this one of Thomas' most charming adult features. Nowadays it may look a smidgen archaic if compared to the director's later, more lavish endeavors, but the true adult aficionado will surely muster up the indulgence to properly appreciate this exceptional early work. Sexually speaking, the threesome involving Gillis, Lorians and smoldering Nikki Randall will absolutely dampen your shorts, by the way. Latter performer never made it to the industry's upper echelon (her filling in for Jamie Summers in Vivid's long-running BRAT series was sabotaged by frugal production quality due to ever dwindling budgets) yet remained an active agent until well into the '90s, appearing in several of Joe d'Amato's latter-day efforts, sporting a somewhat unfortunate breast "enhancement" by then. A tad improbably cast as Gillis' wife, she looks and sounds like a young Demi Moore and has erotic enthusiasm to spare.
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