GENRE: Straight Feature Comedy
DIRECTOR: David Stanley
STARS: Briana Banks, Holly Hollywood, Sunrise Adams, Stephanie Swift, Ashley Long, Chris Cannon, Eric Masterson, Rick Patrick
DATES OF PRODUCTION: 2004
LENGTH: 150 mins with bonus material
Porn is never really funny. Your average hardcore fan finds themselves laughing AT more titles in the suck and fuck genre than giggling with their wit. And the truth is, most of your mainstream adult material is geared toward a far more serious, sensual side of the dial. Sex films today are all about the fantasy, intent on raising the art of XXX to new levels of passionate daydreaming. No longer is smut supposed to be basic balls to the wall nailing and banging. That's gonzo's reason for being. No, the new breed of bed broadsiding must contain music video musings in combination with enigmatic elements that stimulate spiritual as well as sexual interests. So it's no surprise that comedy is almost unheard of in such super serious scenarios. Granted, a little of the acting can be so bad as to demand demented hysterics. And many a XXX-pert guffaws when someone like Stephen St. Croix shows up with one of his patented impersonations prattling out of his puss (his Christopher Walken in genius!). But what about the rest of the industry? What has happened to the pornographic comedy? Why is no one making hilarious hardcore anymore? Well, at least David Stanley is trying. This goofball of gratuitousness, who specializes in making oddball donations to adult entertainment, presents The Contestants, an actual XXX comedy about a wealthy eccentric and a weekend of terror for a chosen group of fuck buddies. Taking what sounds like a shocker, or at least an erotic thriller and channeling it through a decidedly delirious ideology, the results are campy and kitschy, bawdy and bitchy. The Contestants represents a rarity one of the few chances you'll have to exercise your senses of humor...and humping.
The plot of The Contestants tells the rather simple story of three couples Nicole and Michael, Harriet and Glen and Fiona and Paul who are all summoned by the mysterious Gil Parsons to partake in a game. This weird woman wears a Marie Antoinette wig, a few faux furs and not much else. She sits behind a bank of computer monitors and video screens, ruling her roost with the help of a wheelchair and a redheaded assistant. Parson's has a proposition for these greedy groin grabbers. If they agree to be locked up in a warehouse for three days without food or water, their only hope of escape being to find the single way out, the eccentric female philanthropist will give the winning couple $6 million. Parsons, along with her personal fluffer, will monitor their progress via several surveillance cameras. There is a catch, however. Only the first couple out gets the prize. The unseen monster, Maxie, will eat all the others. Without a moment's thought, the lovers are part of the challenge and the competition begins. Fast forward three days into the future and all of our players are hopelessly lost. (Note, from this point forward, this review will rely on the actors' names to describe the sex. Character names will be mentioned at the beginning of each dissertation, placed in a parenthetical next to the performer playing them).
Scene 1: Briana Banks (Nicole), Chris Cannon (Michael)
Deciding that the best way to relieve some of the terrorized tension they feel is through hot hard fucking, Briana starts blowing Chris's cannon. She deep throats the powerful piston and even gives the ballsack a suck or twelve. Quick cut and the couple are reverse cowgirling like their life depended on it. Sweat glistens off their bodies as the bronco bucking continues. Finally, our duo delves into doggy, enjoying the standing spoon connotations and connections with gusto. Chris prepares to deliver his peter pudding and plops it all over Ms. Banks booty. With a butt full of spunk, the lovers look around and discover a key. Apparently, Gil Parsons liked what she saw. She rewarded the sex with a lovely lock picker. Briana and Chris deliver dynamic, passionate bush pushing throughout this scene, and these are words that could be used to describe all the action in The Contestants. There are not a lot of position possibilities here, nor are we treated to a random ribaldry generator style of sharking. Our pairing pork away until both are spent, exactly how efficient, effective hardcore should be. Score: 8 out of 10
As Briana and Chris move closer to the end of the game, Holly and Eric seem stuck in a scaffolding-filled section of the abandoned building.
Scene 2: Holly Hollywood (Harriet), Eric Masterson (Glen)
In need of the same relaxation requirements as Ms. Banks and the Cannon Man, Holly and Eric strip off their skivvies and get down to the business of bonking. Holly starts the festivities by slurping on Mr. Masterson's massive member. Then Holly straddles the gibbets and lets Eric enter her from the standard missionary position. These horny humans humidify the warehouse with their overheated humping. Finally, our dicking dude is ready to unload, and he lets a bunch of ball batter baste Holly's tempting tonsils. And just to give the scene the right amount of randiness, Ms. Tinsel Town takes the spunk snack and swallows it, enjoying every slippery minute of it. Again, Eric and Holly match well, giving the penis to pussy workout a nice, erotic heft. The setting is kind of surreal, and you can tell Ms. Wood was a little uncomfortable riding the architectural poles inside the scaffolding (she had no problem with Eric's dynamic dowel, however). This scene really showcases director David Stanley's monkey lovin' mentality: basic and broiling, with lots of likeable lewdness. Score: 8 out of 10.
Guess what? Gil Parsons eavesdrops on Holly and Eric's exercise in erotica and awards these wanton wanderers a key of their own. As they make their way deeper into the contest, we turn our attention to Sunrise and Rick.
Scene 3: Sunrise Adams (Fiona), Rick Patrick (Paul)
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Our last couple find themselves in a creepy basement, and Sunrise makes an offhanded, rude comment about Gil Parsons. This gets the crazy creep's panties in a wad and she sends her Hellbeast, Maxie, out to smite them. But before any creature canoodling occurs, Sunny and Rick turn this dank, dark place into a real rumpus room. The lovers snuggle and cuddle, kissing and fondling each other in a very romantic session of foreplay cabaret. Then Ms. Adams breaks out the boner and does some shaft snacking. Mr. Patrick responds with some cunt caressing, using his tongue in place of his hand (though he does add a small portion of finger fleecing to Sunny's innards). Eventually, the couple engages in 69, but not before making their way from 61 through 68. Rick tit fucks Sunrise and then enters her honey hole from the bow-wow border. After more mutt maneuvers, Ms. Adams turns Sunrise side up and lets Rick rock her in the missionary mode. When he's ready to pop, Mr. Patrick propels his schlong syrup all over Sun's sultry stomach. There is only one aspect to this scene that keeps it from being on par with the first two pairings. Rick is a good foot and a half taller than Sunrise and it makes their combinations occasionally awkward instead of consistently exotic. Still, these performers plow the flesh fields well and make for a nice, naughty sequence. Score: 6.5 out of 10.
Since Sunrise insulted their host, Maxie the unseen fiend accosts the couple and Rick is carted off to certain doom. As Sunrise chases after him, we turn our attention back to Briana, Chris, Holly and Eric. They have met up near an elevator shaft and are trying to figure out who gets the opportunity to try for the cash. They decide that they need to have sex again in order to gain another key. There is a bed in the middle of the room and the quartet fret over who will get to use the mattress for mamboing. At first, they play backgammon for it (one of the film's best sight gag sequences) but eventually Chris gives up in order to proceed directly to the vagina vexing. Each set of sex partners then pairs off and start spelunking.
Scene 4: Briana Banks (Nicole), Holly Hollywood (Harriet), Chris Cannon (Michael), Eric Masterson (Glen)
In what best can be described as a sequence of synchronized screwing, or dueling diddlers, our gals give their guys some simultaneous head. Then each hot hook-up breaks out into their own individualized idioms. Briana and Chris go for straight snatch sex as Eric and Holly do it doggy style. Then as Ms. Banks and her man meat go bowser, Holly and her hunk explore cowgirl territory. After lots of extreme close-ups on swollen clits and pecker pounding pussy, our well-oiled operators prepare to deliver their dick drippings. The gals assume the receptive position and lashings of log liquid slick their chests. Functioning under the theory that two fornicating couples is always better than one and he's RIGHT! director Stanley lets his stars get steamy as the twin XXX treats just keep on cumming. While some of the technical aspects of the shoot odd angles, a lens looming in far too close to the action tend to distract from the action, the fuck and suck fun here is palpable. Score: 7.5 out of 10
After their loads have been delivered, the dudes are still arguing over who will win the money. Chris is carted off by the unseen "evil" and Eric and Holly use the diversion to leap into the lead. Sadly, they too run into that hideous hardcore hater Maxie and end up a bloody pile of clothing littering the lift. Briana stumbles around until she makes it back to Gil Parson's office. Happy to have a winner, Parson offers one last demand: Briana must fuck her hard, and she can then have all the money, all $6 million for herself. Briana agrees to the Sappho situation, naturally.
Scene 5: Briana Banks (Nicole), Stephanie Swift (Gil Parsons), Ashley Long (Able Assistant)
As Ashley licks Stephanie's strange wig (it has been a humor motif in the movie), Briana picks out a toy to tantalize Ms. Swift with (who is essaying the role of Gil Parsons, by the way). Our badly dressed diva does the same. Soon, tongues are tasting and tantalizing firm female flesh and breasts are being grabbed and groped. There is lots of same sex oral action and fingers always seem to find the wettest spots. Once the fake phallus comes into play, cunt is cleaved with ease. Soon, the faux fucking is frisky and fiery and our gals are getting off in all manner of machinations. As lesbian scenes go, this one is pretty good. The girls are aggressive, but not overly so and the combinations are kept realistic and risquι. While it pales in comparison to the heterosexual hierarchy offered in the other sequences, it still sends The Contestants off with a quasi girl gangbang. Score: 6 out of 10.
Spent and deeply satisfied, Briana makes a demand of Gil Parsons. She wants her husband, Chris, back. Parsons agrees for a payment of...you guessed it, $6 million smackers. Briana turns over the loot and she is reunited with her lover. The minute Chris learns of the sacrifice Briana made for him, he tosses her to the deadly demon thing Maxie. Parsons is appalled and does the same to Mr. Cannon. Indeed, just like Hamlet, it appears that everyone except for Gil Parson's and her assistant are dead at the end of The Contestants. Oh my.
While it may seem hard to believe, The Contestants is really a hoot. Director David Stanley strives to make a funny, foolish lark filled with intense hardcore action, and for the most part, he succeeds completely and carnally. Certainly, some of the amusement comes at the expense of, not because of, the actors. Briana Banks, God help her, has the dumb blond routine down to an uncomfortable science and whenever she opens her mouth, one can't help but let out a shameful snicker. Chris Cannon also has less than professional thespian tricks up his sleeve. He needs to thank his generous genetic material for the massive tool in his trousers otherwise he'd be slicing meat in a deli. It's his only recognizable performance skill. But Eric Masterson is wonderful as a conceited jerk with a couple of secret talents, only one of which has anything to do with a backgammon board and a pair of dice. His taunting pre-game dance is a classic. Ashley Long has a few completely comedic face gestures to go along with her equally eccentric body type (sorry, but the gal is a flat, manly madam with more muscles than curves). Even Stephanie Swift, not given much more to do than play goofy, does so with gusto.
But it's not that The Contestants is such a quip-filled laugh fest. True, it has several sensational, stupid jokes. But most of the humor comes out of the overall tone of this title. This is hardcore taking the piss out of its productions, allowing them to feel loose and enjoyable. The energy radiates off the screen and fills up every orifice on camera. This is why the XXX, while basic and regimented, feels deeply passionate and playful. Our actors are obviously having a blast on this film, and conversely, their body-to body business is equally joyful. The overall sensibility is infectious and you find yourself celebrating along with the cast. Certainly there is better, more single minded humping to be had, movies that take themselves and their sharking far more seriously. But when you can actually sense a ardent dynamic between the performers and have a director who exploits that situation, the results are satisfactory and stiffening. While its premise is pretty pathetic and its narrative is as simple as a nursery rhyme, The Contestants is astounding, salacious fun. Though nobody wins the competition in the end, the audience certainly is rewarded with an excellent adult film.
Utilizing a digital video to film technology (actually, the image is manipulated to make the camcorder look like Kodachrome) the 1.33:1 full screen transfer here is clean and crisp. The color correction is excellent, rendering the skin tones realistic and detailed. While Stanley does stumble a couple of times in the editing/post-production department (there is a weird moment were we get some stray picture-within-a-picture peculiarities) the overall product is professional and polished.
Part of the humor in The Contestants is David Stanley's choice of background music during the sex scenes. Presented in decent Dolby Digital Stereo, the initial sequence between Briana and Chris is scored to an overblown generic epic orchestration. Holly and Eric get physical to some cool urban jazz and Sunrise and Rick have a soundtrack that recalls the heyday of 70s skin soul rump shaking. Between some standard funk-punk electronica and a little lite metal, the musical attributes here are hilarious and add a great deal to the film. And with the sounds of skanking perfectly intact as well, this is one nice aural offering.
Vivid understands the idea of added value, especially in light of The Contestants short-by-industry-standards running time (do they really make 73 minute pornos anymore???). So the premier adult entertainment entity loads up their DVD will all manner of extras, bonuses both basic and bawdy. First up, there are trailers and galleries. Since Briana is the "star" of this show, she gets a scrapbook of stills all her own. There is also a chance to see still scenes from the film. Next, we get a Behind the Scenes featurette where we learn some of The Contestants' secrets. Originally, Gil Parsons was supposed to be a MAN (thus the name), but the actor hired to play the role dropped out at the last minute. Stephanie Swift took over, and the production decided to turn her into a deranged dowager. We also learn that Maxie the beast was supposed to be a tiger, but no explanation is offered as to why they went with a mysterious mutant menace (though budgetary reasons explain its eventual invisibility). We are even treated to a few outtakes and bloopers, showing that porn stars also forget their lines.
But the best bonus material is the wealth of additional scenes included in this set. Briana stars in three of them, while the other two offer other name performers in certain sexy situations. Going over them individually, we see that having them on this disc is like getting another movie, albeit one in a rather scattershot scene compilation configuration, for free. Let's begin with:
Bonus Scene 1: Briana Banks, Evan Stone
From: Blond and Blonder (2003)
Directed by Bo Edwards
Acts Engaged In: Blowjob with Ball Action, Tit Fucking, Deep Throating Cunnilingus with Fingering, Doggy, Pile Driver, Reverse Cowgirl, $hot on Chest with more Tit Fucking.
Evan and Briana really steam up a bus depot waiting room with their intense fuck session. The carnality of this scene is savage and each actor here delivers a convincing copulation experience. Score: 8 out of 10
Bonus Scene 2: Briana Banks, Ashley Blue, Trevor Zen
From: Pretty Girl (2003)
Directed by David Stanley
Acts Engaged In: Stripping, Cabaret, Blowjob, Mutual Masturbation, Straight Vaginal, Toe Sucking, Reverse Cowgirl, Hand Job, $hot on Chest
Director Stanley screws up this scene a little by going overboard with the foreshadowing edits. As the threesome fuck in combination, he uses his cuts to show us sex scenes that will happen in the future of the act. It makes everything a little odd, but doesn't completely diminish the power in this porking. Score: 6.5 out of 10.
Bonus Scene 3: Briana Banks, Bobby Vitale
From: Ticket 2 Ride (2004)
Directed by Chi Chi LaRue
Acts Engaged In: M to F Salad Tossing, Ass Fingering, Pussy Fingering, Blowjob, Straight Vaginal with Deep Penetration, Anal Spooning, $hot in Mouth
Briana and Bobby match up well together. This scene starts at a simmer and gets scalding rather quickly. Eventually, the heat overwhelms our actors and they seem to forget they are fucking on camera. The action is authentic and adds a nice spice to the prick/pussy proceedings. Score: 7 out of 10.
Bonus Scene 4: Ashley Long, Cherokee, Mark Davis
From: Pink Slip (2003)
Director: Chi Chi LaRue
Acts Engaged In: Blowjob, Jousting, Acrobatic Female Oral, Standing 69 with Dueling Head, Face Fucking, Doggy, Gal on Gal Oral, Straight Sex, Pile Driver, $hot in Mouths, Female to Male Snowballing, Swallowing
The list of acts says it all. Mark Davis works overtime to heat up this hump-a-thon and he succeeds in spades. This is a great helping of hardcore, and the sweaty spent bodies of the performers showcase the sizzle here. Score: 9.5 out of 10
Bonus Scene 5: Devon Michaels, Jay Crew
From: Telling Tales (2004)
Director: Chi Chi LaRue
Acts Engaged In: Cabaret, Blowjob, Cunnilingus, Salad Tossing, Fishnet Fucking, Straight Sex, Cowgirl, V to M, $hot in Mouth
The final sequence of trouser snake baiting is good, but kind of aggravating as well. The scene lasts for 17 minute, yet it's almost 11 of those increments before we reach any manner of penetration. Devon is dressed up like an odd plastic vinyl vision, all fishnet and crisscross straps. Sadly, Jay has a hard time breaking through these barriers, which also distracts from the dicking. Score: 6 out of 10
As a final added element, Vivid offers a chance for the audience to "choose the view" during The Contestants' pop shots. There is a little angle icon that appears whenever more than one visual circumstance is available. By pressing the appropriate button on the remote, you can see cocks cum from a profile, or head on perspective. While it's an interesting digital dynamic to fidget with, it doesn't really add very much to the scenes overall.
Daffy, deranged and definitely dumb, The Contestants represents an honest attempt by a hardcore film to be both sexy and silly, and does a nice job of delivering on both accounts. While there may be some members of the varied adult entertainment fanbase who find the mixing of fucking and farce antithetical to their pud pulling proclivities, others will enjoy this hot, horny hilarity. On the Disco Dirge Peter Meter, The Contestants gets a whopping 8.5 out of 10 and is highly recommended. Couples will bust a gut, along with a nut, after watching this twisted treat. Therefore, a Cohabitation Certification is easily awarded. Director David Stanley is to be commended for trying to make satire sexy and stupidity sensual. The Contestants gives porn stars a chance to make fun of the occasionally bizarre circumstances they find their flesh in, as well as providing enough steamy stuff to make most porn provocateurs happy as Jenna Jameson's underwear. This film will tickle your funny, and fornication, bone with equal aplomb. So sit back and snicker with some of your favorite fuck film celebrities as they show you why they are up to the challenge of being The Contestants. You'll be gland glad you did.