Best in this series, quite different from recent entries
Nica Noelle's original THE MASSEUSE is the best of the lot, serving as a template for sequels but quite different in approach. Highly recommended, especially for Asa Akira fans.
This one was made with the "wide world of sports" live video look, while recent HDV shoots have the cinematic look of a film, albeit a color-drained film lacking (just like most TV these days) the warmth of 35mm cinema.
The title is used so often that Nica's version may have gotten lost in the shuffle -clearly Paul Thomas's groundbreaking pair of feature films 20 or so years back are the classics. But I like this newer one too.
The format is simple: put an attractive woman or hunky male nude on a massage table, add oil/cream and talented hands of the massager and you have instant sensuality amounting to the requisite foreplay for an erotic movie. Escalate to explicit sexuality and that's plenty for the fans to appreciate.
Nica's now-famous bias is for naturalistic sex (not gonzo or posing for weird camera angles and gynecological close-ups), fitting the massage parlor to a T. This one features just enough set-up dialog to make for a near story line video, though I would have preferred more interaction, having been spoiled by PT's "real movie" contributions to the genre.
Bobbi Starr runs the Rejuvenation Spa parlor, and video has her showing new employee Asa around its lovely garden setting. Unlike the regimented four sex segments (half an hour each) format of Sweet Sinner videos, this earlier effort has five scenes, a whopping three of them showcasing Akira's talents.
She gets things started servicing Manuel Ferrara, with a slow buildup before sex ensues. Without contradicting his star status in the industry, Manuel is among my least-favorite performers and I found his work unsuitable for Nica's universe -he says nothing, shows no passion and basically just lets his big, famously uncircumcised dick do the talking. Even in the pleasant Behind the Scenes short subject on the DVD he alone of the cast is completely uncommunicative (even when Asa fatuously keeps praising him to the skies) and beyond presenting a great stone face looks actually stoned.
A different Stone, namely award-winning Evan Stone, stars in a segment opposite the enigmatic Zoe Voss, a very familiar performer who highlights many of the crossover Romance series porn features from New Sensations and Eddie Powell, soft X cuts of which litter the Showtime After Dark niche on cable. She's a tall and anorexically thin redhead who I found amazingly appealing here -and turned on Stone effectively, too. This segment has a point - misled by fellow newbie to the salon Asa she thought sex was part of the deal, and only afterward is she informed by Evan that it isn't and basically "don't let this happen again" - a surprise twist given Stone's insatiable on-screen persona.
In between these bouts Nica reverts to her specialty, lesbian sex, in a hot pairing on the table of manager Bobbi and bosomy blonde Kate Kastle. A quick check of her credits and currently available videos indicates Kate only performs girl/girl scenes, which would account for her not being as well known as the other actresses.
Asa returns giving an impressive blow job (including deep throat) to Tim Cannon, cast as a friend of Zoe's who helps her get a bit of payback for the not-so-practical joke Asa played on her. Video ends with Asa once more giving a full treatment to Charles Dera, a XXX equivalent to Coin Farrell if ever there was one. Unless TRUE DETECTIVE on TV rehabilitates his lagging career maybe we can look forward to the real Colin Farrell starring in a Sweet Sinner video soon.
Asa's amazing eyes (they are so extreme I thought she was getting some CGI exotic assist here, as the French actress did so memorably in the horror film SPLICE) that she really dominates THE MASSEUSE. The only drawback to her intense performance is that her bad habits as a porno star are retained - too much porn-speak and water-buffalo noise making during sex, not in line with Nica's goal of naturalism. (Even my noisy neighbors in crowded Manhattan don't sound like water buffaloes through our co-op's thin walls).
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