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Okay romantic porn: a bit flat but works well censored
Stormy Daniels' "Meant to Be" is not her best work, but good enough to service both the DVD couples/romance market and work well on late-night cable. Using my stop/start remotes' features I experimented by doing a simple A/B comparison of DVD with Showtime on Demand version and was pleased with the results.
The secret appears (I infer) to be one of shooting adequate coverage. The four sex scenes run 16 minutes shorter on cable than in explicit XXX DVD print, reducing 85-minute running time to 69 minutes censored. Because fellatio is completely dropped along with the cum shots (as well as cunnilingus close-ups), the short version is made possible because of alternate takes or soft-core angles during production of the sex scenes.
Contrast this with the usual storyline porn. I recently watched a dreaded "parody" feature making fun of Harry Potter, and the video distributor kindly had an alternative bonus non-sex version with the XXX content removed. It turned out to run a scant 7 minutes long!
But Stormy wisely covering her bases had a surprising result: the two versions play virtually identically -no change in content or mood, simply an absence of explicitness. One sex segment ran 10 minutes on cable and 12 minutes on DVD - the same pacing in fact.
Beyond this structural analysis, "Meant to Be" (crudely renamed "Sex Door Neighbors" by the cable distributor) suffers from miscasting and predictability. Story, which heavily relies on title cards interspersed for ellipsis (Four Years Later, Six Months Later, Three Months Later) concerns Lexi Belle headed off to college, leaving her childhood best bud James Deen behind. He didn't even graduate, due to family problems. They have sex in the backyard to start off the film , but it's goodbye sex.
Immediately one is struck by Deen's miscasting. I concede readily that he is the biggest male name in porn in recent years, so a casting coup from a marquee point-of-view. But nobody, not even a JD fan club member, is going to buy this film or watch it on cable due to his presence. So the stupidity of Deen posing as a teenager (role calls for 18 or can play 18) is fatal. He was 27 at time of shooting and has that "used up" look of a porn actor en route to setting a world's record for most feature appearances.
At college Lexi hooks up with Tyler Nixon, that fresh-faced porn star who easily could have filled the Deen boy next door slot handily. An extraneous sex scene of Nikki Daniels bedding with Bill Bailey is thrown in, and Nikki upstages the film's star with an energetic sack performance. Rounding out the sex is a bed scene involving Lexi's parents, Julia Ann and Tommy Gunn, both well-preserved porn specimens.
Ending is rushed and unconvincing as Stormy was clearly three or four rewrites short of a winning conclusion. But as time-killing romantic porn, this ho-hum effort at least clears the watchability bar.
End credits revealed an interesting "afterlife" for many familiar XXX performers, crediting Marcus London with catering (!), Jack Vegas as production assistant, and '90s star Alex Sanders as film editor.
NOTE: I notice that some IMDb contributor has listed the 3 bonus excerpts, a standard feature of nearly all Wicked DVDs, as "Movie Connections", misunderstanding that this attribute is reserved for footage actually included in the feature itself, not bonus advertisements or extras thrown onto a DVD. Hopefully the website's users will educate themselves before cluttering up the useful listings with misleading stuff like that. The category was originally designed back in the Theatrical era of movies to indicate inserted film clips or verbal/sight references to other films DURING the running time of the actual film in question, not to be confused with DVD filler.
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