Red Ezra provided XXX superstar Stephanie Swift (sorry for the alliteration overload) with a meaty role in CHANCES, a downbeat tale of a sympathetic girl heading nowhere. I've been a Swift fan for many years and this was a goodie to catch up with recently, along with her final movies made for Sweet Sinner.
Big-name cast and glossy look courtesy of Wicked Pictures buttress Red's interesting storyline, beginning with Swift's "what if?" narration as her character faces an uncertain future in a neo-noir milieu.
She's a bartender (with a nifty mannish but sexy outfit) at a club that's more realistic than the usual sleazy strip club portrayed on screen. She's an amateur psychologist, appropriate for the job and does not indulge in the B-girl sex that goes on there.
Her boyfriend is Evan Stone (cast in a sympathetic role for a change), an aspiring musician, but they're both broke. They have sex using a condom, per Wicked's safe-sex policy but nearly 15 years later it gives the feature an unrealistic antiquated flavor.
Pastel colors dominate for a diverting photo shoot of strippers Devinn Lane and Shay Sweet, who have an arousingly oiled-up lesbian sex scene together. Getting back to the main story, the club's boss Herschel Savage offers Stephanie a chance to make more money dancing. In the interim, she accedes to a proposition by sleazeball customer Mike Horner to do a lap dance for him, upping the ante successfully from his $200 offer to an even thousand, and the viewer can't complain, even knowing that our sympathetic heroine is now on the road to ruin.
But instead she decides to quit her job and embark on a new life, without the millstone of Evan attached to her. She moves in with a nice guy fellow bartender named Chris, but their platonic friendship quickly moves to seduction, and film climaxes as Chris does - fade out.
Coda has Stephanie back at the club in the dressing room, stripping being her new job. She dreams of getting an education, owning a house and starting a family. But it's more wistful than realistic.
Kudos to Red for a realistic movie that doesn't fall into the usual traps of glamorizing the subject matter - it compares favorably with Katt Shea's groundbreaking Bs in the genre over a decade earlier.
I spend the lion's share of my viewing time for porn split between pioneering '70s works and the best of the current crop (Sweet Sinner, Sweetheart, Digital Sin, etc.), but it would be worthwhile for someone to give a long, hard look at the best of storyline features released 10 to 20 years ago - most of it almost immediately forgotten in the entertainment world's insistence on planned obsolescence.
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