This is the first DVD release from Sweet Sinner to sell out all copies (no reprinting reissues are prepared by the label), making it only available now via streaming or downloading from the website. See more »
Terrific XXX character study bucks recent gonzo trending
Nica Noelle's "Gigolos" has the director at the top of her game, which is simply to create rich characters and tell simple, emotional stories within the explicit Adult Film context. It's a good starting point for anyone interested in her distinctive approach.
What impressed me the most about this straightforward piece is that it got the balance right between sex and story. Much propaganda, especially from industry publications and critics, has emphasized that pornography is all about the sex scene, and the myth has become ingrained among fans, especially younger ones who missed out on the Golden Age of the '70s and early '80s, that porn players cannot act, and that in XXX dialog and story should be removed or at least subject to the fast-forward button.
Noelle presents two hustlers, well-played by Manuel Ferrara and Toni Ribas in perhaps the choicest roles ever afforded them in careers devoted to gonzo sex acts, and we see not only their prowess in bed earning their keep servicing wealthy, mature women, but also their maturation and self-discovery. Second half of the film focuses on 25-year-old heiress Samantha Ryan, coming into a $200 million family fortune, and the point-of-view shifts to her situation as both anti-heroes attempt to win her hand, building a classical romantic story aimed firmly at the Couples Market, which is why Nica launched the Sweet Sinner (funded out of Quebec by distributor Mile High) in the first place.
After a montage limning in soft-core fashion the male prostitutes' way with women, including cameos by Elexis Monroe, Melissa Monet and an uncredited (and unidentified by me) busty lady, we're treated to a hot bed scene of Ribas servicing his regular customer Michelle Lay. This content, nearly half an hour of non-stop sex, is technically gonzo content, though the actors in Nica format do not pose for the camera or take artificial positions as is the wall-to-wall sex custom nowadays.
Following scene is very interesting, in that Manuel fills in for busy Toni with Toni's customer Sienna West, who asks the stud to dominate her, hurt her and humiliate her. There follows a slightly rough sex bout in which the huge-breasted West does her thing with panache for a change, not limited to the "piece of meat" treatment she has essayed in dozens of throwaway performances for the likes of the Bang Bros. in Florida or innumerable assembly-line Penthouse Videos typecast as a MILF. Both she and Ferrara create real characters, role-playing in their sex but not mere "models" or "sex performers" -more like actors. Scene has a surprise ending which brings us back from sexual high to reality.
Several guest stars, including Elexis returning, pop up at a party scene, including Nica's non-sex regulars deLuxe (as a friend of Ryan) and lighting director Cry Baby (as the bartender), to celebrate Sam's 25th birthday. Ferrara makes a fool of himself, using his tired hustler lines on Sam and getting not only rejected but physically thrown out of the place by a bouncer. Toni takes the opportunity to inveigle his way more smoothly into Sam's good graces, earning a date with her and bedding her for Sex vignette #3. Our heroes' saga has begun to take a turn, as Ribas has fallen in love with his rich mark.
The two gigolos are pals, and Toni invites Manuel to have a dinner for three with him and Sam, to mend fences. We see in the stars' exchange of glances that Ryan despite her angry words at the party has a crush on Ferrara and he is smitten with her. Naturally they get it on in the final reels and the dramatic arc of Ferrara's evolving character leads to a patented Nica open ending, with the feature satisfying both on the arousing sex and character study levels.
In fact, watching "Gigolos" gave me a new appreciation of Ferrara's acting skills, after I had more or less pigeon-holed him as a big-dicked stud, achieving top rank in the industry more as a skilled woodsman than a thespian. Ribas, too, is quite effective supporting him as the best bud, and all the actresses from Nica's troupe are terrific, including one-shot Sienna, who earns a magnificent DVD box cover prominence for this, seemingly her only full-fledged acting role in a 21st Century career mirroring that of fellow Latina heart-throb Heather Lee a decade or so before.
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