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Studio: Vivid » Review by Disco Dirge » Review Date: 10/24/04

XCritic's Advice: Highly Recommended

GENRE: Straight Feature/Documentary
DIRECTOR: Paul Thomas
STARS: Janine, Sunrise Adams, Angelica Sin, Domino, Olivia O'Lovely, Mia Beck, Nick Manning, Dale DeBone, Jack Lawrence
LENGTH: 180 mins with bonus material

We've all heard it before. It is adult industry legend. Everybody knows it. Janine does not do guys. It's a certainty, like death, taxes and the prevalence of substandard Internet porn. Though she's supposedly been offered the chance to ride the baloney pony and pluck the pickle, Ms. Lindemulder has never done a legitimate onscreen scene with a guy (a bootleg video of her porking the portly Vince Neil her one-time boyfriend -has made the rounds, but that doesn't count). So when it was announced that after a two-year retirement from the business, Janine was making a comeback, everyone was excited. And when she explained that she was now going to make it (both literally and figuratively) with guys, the entire XXX universe was stunned. Most could barely believe it. The girl who'd made a megastar career out of her supermodel beauty, love of tattoos and "girl/girl only" pretense was finally going to 'fuck' a dude on film. No shit? Whoa.

Perhaps it was all a joke. Maybe Janine was just looking for a gimmick, and proclaiming her upcoming heterosexual humping would indeed be a great way to drum up interest. Maybe, it was all a bluff. Perhaps she wasn't really going to ram the rod. Instead, she was going to offer up some more of the same Sappho sensuality before giving a guy the gratuitous gladhanding. But as the start date of her comeback loomed and specifics were announced, Janine appeared to be serious about the shark. Her co-star in carnality was announced (a goof named T.T. Boy was listed as her first cinematic man meat) and the film's tentative title was revealed Janine Rising. With legendary director Paul Thomas behind the camera and a cast including Joel Lawrence, Evan Stone and Vince Voyeur, it looked like hardcore history was about to be made.

It didn't quite work out that way. Rumors started flying that her new guy-on-gal design was all a ploy to get back at ex-husband (and stupidest man in the history of interpersonal relationships) Monster Garage's Jesse James for featuring their breakup in his June 2004 Discovery Channel Motorcycle Madness show. Then T.T. Boy was given his walking papers, and Nick Manning became the stunt cock for the monumental event. Finally, Janine Rising became Maneater, most of the announced performers were sent packing and the scripted showcase for Ms. Lindemulder's first exploration of dick dynamics became of all things a documentary look at Janine's new attitude...with a few sex scenes mixed in, of course. Maneater does indeed contain Janine's first (and second) dude on dame experience. But it is so much more than this. Believe it or not, it transcends its prick and pussy trappings to become an incredibly interesting portrait of a proud and defiant individual.

The DVD:
This will not be a typical Dirge porn review. There will be no scene breakdown (until we get to the bonus materials) and the intricate details of each sequence of suck and fuck will not be discussed in excess. If that makes you mad, or fails to gird your groin, then move on to one of the numerous titles Mr. DD has taken on in the last year or so. You'll find the smut that satiates your sensibilities lickety split. You see, Maneater deserves something a little more analytical than a blow-by-blow description of positions and pop shots. This is Janine Lindemulder's first hetero hump film, but it is also something substantially different. Throughout the running time of Maneater, we witness the rebirth of a legend in adult films as she tries to break free from all the preconceived notions that surround her. Honest, forthright and personable to a fault, this is not the demanding diva that everyone associates with the name Janine. Gone are the self-righteous facades she used in the public forum (anyone whose ever seen or heard her on, say, Howard Stern understands what that means) along with a great deal of her defensive dignity. In its place is a simple person, a woman reaching out to her fan base and asking for a kind of metaphysical forgiveness. She knows she's made numerous mistakes, both personal and professional, putting her in the position of having to reclaim her place in the pantheon of porn. Maneater is her empowering mea culpa.

Obviously, Janine was shaken up by the breakup with ex-husband Jesse James. All kidding aside (that parenthetical comment above was a jest, guy. Don't hurt the Dirge, okay?) James comes across on his hit Discovery Channel series as a 'my way or the highway' kind of guy, a macho male hopelessly devoted to his raging sense of Id. This is not to suggest that he was the beast to Janine's beauty. Far from it. One gets the sense in Maneater than our starlet feels a great deal of responsibility for what went wrong with their coupling. Several times in the interview material we hear her confess to miscalculations regarding men and her other man matings. Similar in style and content to Jenna Jamison's recent autobiography How to Make Love Like a Porn Star, this is Janine's attempt to reveal herself and shed the self-consciousness. She argues that throughout her time in porn, she's never had a moment just to be herself. It's been boyfriend after boyfriend, husband after heartache. Because of her amazing beauty and statuesque presence, Janine had to be the very definition of a trophy wife albeit an oddly tainted one with amazing sexuality written all over her killer body. The fact that men used and abused the personal privilege of being her beau is not the most shocking thing about Maneater. Indeed, we come to expect and snicker at such suggests. But when Janine herself admits playing into that kind of corrupt coupling ideal, you understand that she's really ready to make mental amends and try to move on.

-- sponsored by --

Maneater is an odd therapy session, to say the least. Watching Janine prepare for her first onscreen encounter with a guy is uncomfortable and awkward. As she gets covered in body makeup and frets over her face, the nattering nervousness is palpable. This woman is scared, honestly not knowing if she can compete with the current crop of cunt dusters. In the realm of girl/girl groping, she is a goddess. But when it comes to giving the guys a good going over, she is untried and untested. Indeed, throughout the running external monologue that makes up the vast majority of this presentation, Janine is apprehensive and very forward about her fears. For someone whose options appear limited in the mainstream arena that Blink 182 video did help her heartland street cred, no matter porn's burgeoning middle America acceptance it is only natural to fret over failure. And no matter how attractive or amiable an adult star is, if they can't deliver the dick and douche dynamics, they soon become yesterday's naughty news. There is perhaps too much time spent on Janine's excessive worry, almost as if to suggest a hint of hype. After all, isn't it better to watch a babe ball like a pro after she's confessed to a little performance anxiety than to simply see some sizzling, 'so what' sex? Maneater consistently positions itself as an exploration of Janine, her life and her psyche, but the balance may be out of whack, in favor of fidgeting and trepidation.

In many ways, she needn't have worried. From the sexual side, the five scenes offered here are professional, potent and a tad perfunctory at times. Janine joins in for three out the five offerings, the last of which features her patented pussy petting. Scene 1 is the only solo guy-girl action featuring our newfound cock knocker. It has Ms. Lindemulder going tool to twat with Nick Manning and sadly, director Paul Thomas could have chosen some better man meat for the first frig. Nick is just too cocky both literally and figuratively spouting a lot of ridiculous trash talk as he proudly pops Janine's cinematic cherry. The public toilet setting of the scene doesn't help Mr. Manning's maneuvers, but Janine also needs to take some of the boff blame. She initially appears to be unable to properly puff peter, pulling back quite a bit instead of getting down with dong. Nick is constantly moving, shifting between straight vaginal, doggy, and blowjobs at random. The scene even magically moves to a bedroom set, where again, the domination nature of the sex is continued. Even with all the fondling and kissing, we get the sense that Nick is only in this for the bragging rights, to be able to boast that he "broke" the most famous females-only sex star around. By the time he earns his money, we kind of feel sorry for Janine. She has been a trouper throughout, getting into the groove and proving her pumping mantle with ease. But she doesn't really seem satisfied as much as revealed. Certainly, a big stigma has been lifted off her persona, but it looks like Nick didn't do much to win her over to the side of shaft.

Scene 4 where Janine joins Dale DeBone and Angelica Sin is far better. Having another lady to latch onto helps, and Dale seems better suited to focus on both his needs and those of the fuck and suck film being made. Typical to most sexual triptychs, there is a free-for-all atmosphere to the action: Janine lunches on log; Angelica licks clit; Dale just keeps DeBoning everyone. Still, there are a couple of sequences that standout. Halfway through the coupling, Janine apparently orgasms as Dale is doing her in the missionary position. We hold for a moment and then quickly cut to another angle. Turns out Ms. Lindemulder broke into tears after her climax. She explains it away as being the result of feeling vulnerable and emotionally drained. But one can infer a lot into that reaction. Since she is under pressure here to perform, to really sell the public on her ability to pork professionally, knowing she can also derive great pleasure from acts she used to avoid must have come as a pleasant, powerful shock to her. The sobbing may have been out of relief more than complicated sentiments. There is also a moment between all three actors when they appear to forget the camera is around and just start screwing for their own personal enjoyment. Janine and Angelica have toys sticking out of every orifice, Dale is doing all he can to keep up. Together, tits are suckled, cunts are cleaved and, everywhere, tongues are wagging and dragging along sweat slicked body parts. Scene 4 is probably the best Janine scene in the set, since it looks and feels natural and erotic.

As for the other offerings of pork product, the sequences featuring ancillary performers are decent, but not as impressive or expressive as Janine's scenes. Dale does the stick figured Domino in Scene 2 and while the fornication is fierce and fiery, Ms. D is a rather bland beauty. With no tits to speak of an a little girl's body that gives off a creepy pre-teen vibe, this is one vixen that could use some severe surgical alteration. Aside from some extreme close-ups and odd angles, director Thomas doesn't try to flower up the fucking, which is a very good thing. But with limited visual appeal, this section of the film really underwhelms. The same can be said about Scene 3, where Jack Lawrence and Olivia O'Lovely get wicked in a barn. The couple basically provides each other with some simple oral loving before falling into the basic mish mosh. As they turn over to a doggy dimension, Mia Beck walks in, takes one look at the lovers and starts shifting her own sands. As Jack jerks his johnson, spraying spunk on Double O's Double Ds, Mia reaches the peak of personal refreshment. Again, the sex is fine, and the added bonus of personal penny packing is nice. But Jack and Olivia seem to be holding back, as if to avoid overshadowing other scenes (and PERFORMERS) in this set.

The final facet of Maneater is a girl/girl gala between Janine and Sunrise Adams. Both ladies are decked out in severe dominatrix gear (strike 1), spend far too much time tied up and struggling (strike 2) and rely on a strap-on for much of the monkey lovin' (strike...well...). If one considers the pussy whipping literal pussy WHIPPING - and the faux phallus fucking as hot and horny, then part one of this two part twat teasing will surely satisfy your stigmas. The better bet for a trip to Bonerville is the second half of the sequence, where Janine and Sunrise share a shower. Both ladies look luscious in the soapy wet circumstances and there is plenty of Ms. Lindemulder's patented pussy eating in this remarkable finale. There is an odd moment where we see men different ages and ethnicity looking on as Janine and Sunrise shark away, and the symbolism is kind of crackpot. Are we supposed to see this as a comment on how men like to watch lesbianism? If so, it's done in such a ham-fisted manner that the point gets lost. If it was part of the original Janine Rising shoot, then it makes more sense - at least from a technical standpoint. Indeed, Thomas has a hard time incorporating the hardcore material into his new Q&A constraints. More times than not, they just appear out of thin air. The actors aardvark, the pop is performed and it's back to more of Janine on 'Janine'. There is nothing wrong with this ideal scene compilations have even less connective elements between their bawdiness. Yet Maneater is something special, and should have mandated a more fluid format.

Indeed, there will be those who look at Janine's grousing and groaning and wonder what all the bitching is about. Here is a woman who looks amazing, has one of the best boob jobs in the business, wears her overdone tattoos very well and manages to be both aggressive and approachable in her persona, both on and off the screen. Those not buying the 'come clean' routine will probably find Maneater much ado about fluffing. Yet those who tune into this sharp, seductive lady's new lease on life, and her desire to connect with her fans will find this documentary-style sex film incredibly interesting, as well as carnally complete. All gossip and tabloid trash aside, there has always been a mystery about Janine Lindemulder. She is more attractive than most mainstream hack actresses and has a nice, natural presence on screen. Why she can't make a career outside the adult industry work must be directly related to that stupid, prejudicial stigma that the regular world has against porn stars. Janine is not some bimbo with her brain in her bra and her head up some dude's dumper. She is a thoughtful, articulate person who merely wants back into the game she helped popularize. And she deserves a chance. Individuals interested in porn will find Maneater to be an enticing and arousing experience. And anyone not moved by the XXX facets will still find her open and honest confessional to be a rare glimpse inside the inner world of adult entertainment. This is one hardcore DVD that will stimulate your mind and your member (or if so inclined, your mons).

The Video:
One of the best parts of Maneater is its image. Expertly photographed, the 1.33:1 full screen transfer is colorful and clear. Contrasts are good, meaning that details are readily apparent and pleasant throughout. Thomas takes the handheld 'you are there' ideal a little to far, his camera constantly following Janine around like a stray puppy. But the overall video to film reconfiguration looks great, and makes Maneater a delightful visual feast.

The Audio:
One of the more important aspects of Maneater is the audio. We need to hear Janine to understand the importance of what she is saying and the Dolby Digital Stereo delivers her words crisply and cleanly. Occasionally, a question is subtitled to clarify what is being asked, but for the most part, all the aural elements the talking and the tool time are perceptible and atmospheric.

The Extras:
Vivid is notorious for larding on the extras in their DVD offerings and Maneater is no exception. First up, every scene has an alternate angle option. Whenever the icon appears onscreen, you activate your remote control to witness fucking, sucking and cumming in different visual variations. Janine also gets her own gallery, as does the film. There are three trailers and the usual ads for everything from phone sex to penis enlargement. Then things start to get strange. There are two audio tracks on Maneater, yet a distinction between the two is never made. Track One is definitely the movie soundtrack, while Track Two seems to be an aural orgy of sorts, a session between Janine and some of the stars. Though it's hard to understand most of the time, we make out sex noises and wanton giggling. What this is all supposed to mean is anyone's guess, but it does make for intriguing decibel detective work. There is also an interesting Behind the Scenes featurette that showcases bloopers, outtakes and candid conversations with Ms. Lindemulder and the cast. It is here where we learn about Janine's crying fit, the reconfiguration of the original film and a few of the personal problems the star went through during her hiatus. Part of the time, this is an eye-opening expose. The rest of the run is just friendly flubs and foul ups.

And of course, there are the bonus scenes. It's a veritable Janine-Fest as the actress appears in another guy/gal grouping before we walk down memory lane with five early examples of her previous proclivities. Starting with her third session of cock and bull, we get:

Bonus Scene 1: Janine, Julian
From: November Issue of Club Magazine (2004)
Director: Not Listed
Acts Engaged In: Foreplay, Blowjob, Cunnilingus, Doggy, Cowgirl, Reverse Cowgirl, Spooning, Pile Driver, $hot on Chest, Stunt Cum
As part of a photo shoot, Janine and Julian get all hot and bothered. The couple looks good together and the sex in simple and straightforward. The money shot, however, is forged, for some unexplainable reason. But at least they explain that it is/was. Score: 7 out of 10

Bonus Scene 2: Janine
From: Body Language (1995)
Director: Austin Ellison
Acts Engaged In: Cabaret, Masturbation, Fingering, Toy Play, V to M
It's Janine in a solo shot that is very erotic. As self-satisfaction scenes go, this one is pretty good. Score: 5 out of 10

Bonus Scene 3: Janine, Eric Price, Guy DeSilva, Tony Tedeschi, Valentino
From: Layover (1995)
Director: Paul Thomas
Acts Engaged In: Cabaret, Masturbation, Fingering, Toy Play, V to M Circle Jerk, $hot in Own Hand
Janine is doing herself again, this time surrounded by four guys in suits. As she pleasures her person, the spectators whip out their wands and start whacking off. When they are ready to pop, they place the porridge into their own hand. How very odd. Score: 5.5 out of 10

Bonus Scene 4: Janine, Inari Vachs
From: The Secretary (1999)
Director: Cleo Edwards
Acts Engaged In: Foreplay, Cunnilingus, Fingering, Fisting, Ass Play, 69, Strap-On, V to M
Now this is more like it. A classic Lindemulder lesbian workout. Incredibly hot and very steamy. Score: 8 out of 10 Bonus Scene 5: Janine, Julia Ann
From: Speedway (1999)
Director: Ralph Parfait
Acts Engaged In: Foreplay, Cunnilingus, Fingering, Butt Plug, Toy Time, Faux Phallus DP, 69
Two for two! While not as sensual as Bonus Scene 4, this is still what we've come to expect from the expert snatch snacker. Score: 7.5 out of 10

Bonus Scene 6: Janine, Raylene
From: Where the Boys Aren't 13 (1999)
Director: Eddie Edwards
Acts Engaged In: Foreplay, Tit Play, Fingering, Cunnilingus, Salad Tossing, Anal Tongue Fucking, Toy Time, Butt Plug Butter Churning, Faux Phallus DP
It's been said before but it bears repeating no one does girl/girl like Janine. Here is the proof. Score: 8 out of 10.

Final Thoughts:
A while back, the Dirge reviewed Jenna Jameson's autobiography for the Blue Room of DVD Talk and he found the experience very eye opening indeed. The ultimate diva of adult movies was forthright and cautionary about what the porn business can do to you, both as a star and as a human being. From what we learn in Maneater, Janine could have used a little of Jenna's learned advice over the last few years. At least she's now taking steps to get her life together, hoping the business hasn't left her behind. Maneater is a good place to start. Not only is it hot hardcore, but it presents a picture of the personal side of the industry, one we rarely see in such an open and honest manner. On the Disco Dirge Peter Meter, Maneater gets a 8.5 out of 10 and is highly recommended. Couples will definitely delight in both the sex offered and secrets revealed. Therefore, a Cohabitation Certification is easily awarded. Anyone antsy to see Janine tackle tool for the first time onscreen will find Maneater to be a potent, if peculiar porn offering. If you're not interested in listening to Ms. Lindemulder's story of sacrifice and rebirth, then by all means, avoid the between scene breaks where all the conversation occurs. But if you stop for a while and actually pay attention, you will become acquainted with an expressive, intriguing lady. In the company of men or not, It is good to have Janine back. Here's hoping for more happiness, than heartache, along the way.

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