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Cousins (1983)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
(as Matt Ramsey)
Billy Gant
Cory Adams
Tony Kidd
Scott Roberts
Steve Rodgers
Brad Foxx
Lance Whitman
Lee Landis
Chris Allen ...
(as Allen Chris)
Rick Lane
John Anderson ...
(as John Andrew)
Ricky Sport
Dick Hagen
Doris Hagen


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The Family That Plays Together
1 July 2006 | by See all my reviews

Following his wildly popular BROTHERS SHOULD DO IT, William Higgins made another "family" movie though this time the angle is all but played out after the first sex scene involving cousins Peter North (in his pre-straight porn "Matt Ramsey" period) and one time only performer Billy Gant. It kicks off with one of the great gay seductions of all time when Billy removes a sleeping Peter's underwear to admire and play with his genitals. After that, each goes his separate way and Billy's never seen or heard of again.

Peter calls out for pizza and gets cute delivery boy Scott Roberts (one of the horny college kids from Lee Stern's PHYSICAL EDUCATION, a vehicle for muscular Chad Johnson) who's clearly game for more than a dip in the pool. Post-coitally, Roberts relates the story of his brother (Cory Adams, somewhat of a Higgins mainstay and featured in both CLASS REUNION and his Magnum Opus SAILOR IN THE WILD) playing around with the hired help while his sugar daddy's away on business. The ensuing threesome stands as perhaps the hottest encounter in this collection of winners and can lay claim to the hands down funniest sex talk this reviewer has ever come across, delivered with super-bitch gusto by all too delicious little Adams.

Back to Peter, now camping out in the wild with buddies Lance Whitman (also in Higgins' YOUNG OLYMPIANS), Brad Foxx and Steve Rodgers. Their mix 'n' match four-way is a marvel to behold with hunky dark-haired Rodgers – who apparently never made another movie, for shame – popping North's back door cherry. Rather than focus on the other cousin, Higgins decides to trail pizza boy Roberts (huh ?) instead, engaging in a woodsy trio with soon to become professional "daddy's boy" Chris Allen (sizzling in Jim West's paean to intergenerational romance CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK) making his dirty movie debut and some lanky dude I'm at a loss to identify.

Continuing this apparently stream of consciousness narrative, Allen becomes the focal point for the film's last portion, lusting after beer buddy Lee Landis, who finally yields to his amorous overtures in the back of a pickup truck. Just to make good on his star billing, North pops up (so to speak !) once more for a sweltering solo – with flashbacks to Foxx and Rodgers doing same for good measure – to bring matters to a satisfying close.

As the above synopsis clearly indicates, narrative's not this movie's strong point. Higgins never was much of a storyteller nor did he ever show any particular interest in becoming one. His films tend to follow a LA RONDE type structure whereby one character is shown meeting and interacting with another who then goes on to a third, the latter running into a fourth, etc. Characterization is usually kept to a bare minimum or supplied by the performer's own personality. Higgins' interests lie, pure and simple, with the sex, not a bad thing when you happen to be a pornographer ! Invariably acting as his own cameraman, Higgins shot some of the greatest looking and steamiest romps in the gay porn pantheon, displaying a special knack for pairing (or tripling, quadrupling, …) the right guys, a gift that only seems to have failed him once, albeit spectacularly, with the distressingly lukewarm THE FRENCH LIEUTENANT'S BOYS.

COUSINS has stood the test of time as one of Higgins' finest achievements in the field of homo erotica though one should be warned that it contains perhaps the most boring and aimless opening ten minutes of any adult film, a long sex-free segment introducing both cousins and their dreary parents. One set of elders is billed as "Ed and Francis Gant". Does this mean that they were actually Billy Gant's mom and dad ? Either way, their "spontaneous" (all too obviously unscripted) interaction with "Dick and Doris Hagen" makes for a painful prelude to all the good stuff waiting just around the bend. My advice to first time viewers is to be strong, grit your teeth if you must, and rewards will be plentiful !

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