GENRE: Hardcore Straight Feature
DIRECTOR: Stormy Daniels
STARS: Kaylani Lei, Pason, Shay Sights, Alexis Malone, Evan Stone, Nick Manning, Lee Stone, Kris Slater
DATES OF PRODUCTION: 2004
LENGTH: 127 mins with bonus material
It's no surprise that more and more adult stars are taking to a life behind the camera. While not really giving up their regular gig, the sense of control that comes with being a director or producer must seem like salvation from a career spent under the auspices of one type of autocrat or another. Whether it's the company that offers a sense of exclusivity or the suitcase pimp who never leaves the set while you're performing, the life of a porn player must be a non-stop series of demands and mandates. Add to that the notion that everything you do, from the sexual to the business side, will determine your longevity in an already volatile industry, and the desire to break free must be overwhelming. Thus comes the decision to start companies, produce films, and write and direct their own product.
Wicked gal Stormy Daniels is jumping in to the auteur arena with One Night in Vegas, her first film as a writer/director. A fan favorite, with many magnificent titles to her name, Stormy seems determined to expand her resume while defining the parameters of pornography for her devotees. The results are rather good, if also a little soft, for many hardcore fans. But there is also a sense of artistry and attention to detail in her work that bodes well for the future. If you like your lovin' on the more loose and loving side, One Night in Vegas will definitely tickle your tendencies. But beware you lovers of ballistic XXX. Stormy is not about to give you any manner of gonzo gratuity, period.
The storyline for One Night in Vegas is pretty straightforward. Kaylani plays a young bride to be, going off with her friend Pason for a bachelorette weekend in Sin City. Fiancι Nick is very understanding, but his stalker ex-girlfriend Alexis is not. She is livid that the man of her dreams is marrying another, so she concocts a strange plan to undermine their impending nuptials. With the help of a fey designer (Kris Slater in a non-sex role), she bribes Evan, a stripper, to come on to Ms. Lei. Then Alexis spikes their drinks, takes the drugged dummies back to Kaylani's hotel room, and adds a fake wedding certificate to finalize the ruse. When they wake up BANG! they think they're man and wife. And Nick is on his way! Seems he got a mysterious phone call warning him about his intended's activity in the town where anything can happen.
First off, it has to be said that Stormy shows a lot of promise as a filmmaker. She has an interesting eye for the erotic (more on this later), a deft way with the narrative and a keen sense of getting the best out of her actors, both sexually and in the pure performance realm. The small cast, the reusing of the stars and a lack of girl/girl show that she has a handle on what works best in the serious, straight genre of pornography. On the downside, the action here is VERY soft, almost borderline basic cable. Until you see the penetration or the pop, you could mistake a lot of this for a revved up Red Shoe Diaries. Also, there is an extreme dichotomy between the quality of her stars. Kaylani, Alexis, Evan and Nick are first-rate fuckers and personas. But poor Pason is WAY out of her league, and Kris Slater is pretty horrible as a homosexual. Lee Stone doesn't get enough to do outside of his cocksmanship and Shay Sights could become something big within the industry if featured more. A little more consistency would go a long way toward selling Ms. Daniels as a female force in adult filmmaking. But as it stands, we still get a good sampling of smut here, which may be all that's important for must fleece fans.
As for the aforementioned XXX action, here is a breakdown of the individual scenes:
Scene 1: Kaylani Lei, Nick Manning
As will be the standard of every scene in this film, Daniels begins her dicking dioramas with lots of languid foreplay. Kaylani and Nick really get into the moment and seem to connect on a deep, passionate level. As he is often want to do, Mr. Manning drops down to the dirty bits and eats a pretty mean pussy. Kaylani responds with an equally aggressive blowjob. She even spins on her back and allows Nick to face fuck her for a while (it is VERY hot!). The first position explored is spooning, and this couple seems to really connect during the side-by-side situation. After some additional cowgirl and mish, Nick delivers his trademark "dropping loads" diatribe as he squirts his seed all over Kaylani's crotch.
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Anyone who can turn down Manning's mannered machismo deserves several salvation points right up front. He can really overwhelm a scene with his scattered sex talk. Paired up with Kaylani here (who is always a joy to watch), we get a nice introductory fuck fest with far too much atmosphere and just a little aggression. Since it is probably the main criticism with One Night in Vegas, let's just say it now and get it out of the way the shuck and jive here is just way too formalized and friendly for anyone used to a more gonzo or gratuitous style of sex film. While there will be an exception along the way, the vast majority of the shark here is pleasant, but lacking substantial power. If you are into seeing pretty people pork away without a hint of smuttiness or seediness, Stormy's style will be perfect for you. As it stands, Kaylani and Nick look nice together, but their coupling is only a little more than lukewarm, not red hot and sizzling. Score: 6 out of 10.
Scene 2: Shay Sights, Evan Stone
In what will be the sole aggressive, balls to the walls and back again cock cramming in the set, Evan teaches Shay a thing or two about dealing with a massive meat stick. And you've got to give Ms. Sights credit she takes this titanic tool all the way down her throat, Kielbasa Queen style until her face is pressed up against Evan's pelvis (now THAT'S an achievement). During the initial oral moments of this scene, Shay sucks the shit out of Stone, using ball manipulation, stroking, tit/face fucking and lots and lots of spit to polish this prick with intensity. Evan responds with a session of connie that finds four of his fingers jammed deep into Shay's snatch. As he hand-bangs her, his tongue is working the clit with precision. The actual fornication starts with a little sidesaddle, followed by regular cowgirl, straight and doggy. This couple really puts on the pounding as dick dives deeply into Ms. Sights' slit over and over again. When he is ready to unload, Evan releases his shaft seed, making a direct deposit to Shay's mouth.
Maybe it's the setup of the scene (Evan is a stripper living with his loser showgirl wannabe gal pal on the skuzzy side of town). Perhaps it is some personal connection between the actors (Evan seems really into Shay and visa versa). Or it could be that Stormy decided to balance the subtlety of the first sequence with a good old fashioned joint jousting here. Whatever the case may be, this is the best scene on the disc, a full out fuckathon where the heat is palpable and the erotica extreme. By proving she can handle this kind of scene as well as the softer stuff, Stormy continues to certify her place in the pantheon of porn peddlers. Score: 8 out of 10.
Scene 3: Pason, Lee Stone
Oops! Maybe the Dirge spoke too soon. This is another seedy sequence, a quick quackenbush in a dirty bathroom between Pason and Lee, and while our main mangled member man is more than up to the challenge, Pason is barely passable. She appears out of her league and way in over her head trying to handle Ms. Stone's strange shaft. And she has all the onscreen presence of a drifter. This little girl lost undercuts the potential power of the scene, leaving us a mere sequence of sex acts. As it is, we get foreplay and lots of oral. Lee provides cunnilingus and salad tossing while Pas pleases peter with her lips. All the initial sex is in the standing position (how odd...), comprised of scissors and both cowgirls. The regular reverse cowgirl (Lee is laying with his head near the toilet Ew!) is followed by the only anal in the film (again in RC mode). The money moment is a facial. It's just too bad about the match up here. With another actress in the mix, it would be easy to see this scene rocking one's jock. As it stands, it's just generic. Score: 4.5 out of 10.
Scene 4: Kaylani Lei, Evan Stone
Kaylani's final fuck (it's Evan's too, by the way) is a fairly decent scene that starts out strong. Working up a decent lover's lather with foreplay and oral antics, Kaylani languishes over Evan's log, giving equal attention to that frighteningly stretched out nutsack of his. After a bit of fucking the tit, it's penetration time. The couple starts off in cowgirl position, then moves to its reverse, and they slams into a session of kennel carnality as the drilling is done like the dog. Evan empties his elongated armature all over Kaylani's ass. Both seem very satisfied with each other.
Once again, Kaylani is a very attractive young woman. She looses herself in the sex and always comes across as passionate, playful and fully pleased. Evan has that kind of goofball charisma that often gets in the way of the wantonness, but here it works well. Together, they make an interesting couple (they 'sort of' had a scene in Eye of the Beholder) and help strengthen Stormy's sense of cinematic chemistry. Score: 7.5 out of 10.
Scene 5: Alexis Malone, Nick Manning
The final fuck facet of this DVD is also pretty good. Nick seems far more fired-up about doing Ms. Malone that he did about diddling Ms. Lei, and the added heat is conspicuous. After a great deal of intense kissing and foreplay, Mr. Manning dives down to douche-ville and proceeds to finger and flick Alexis's loins. There is some F to M here, and the resulting oral gets this gal all hot and horny. The pair porks in the doggy position, followed by an intense amount of cowgirl. The implied V to M turns into a blowjob, as Alexis brings Nick to a crazed climax with her cocksucking. She appears to take the load directly down her throat, swallowing the healthy helping of hog honey with relish. While the sex is still too soft, and the positions rather limited, there is some evident eros between the couple. A little more variety, and some escalation in the aggression would make this, and other scenes here, into hardcore classics. As they stand, they are pleasing, if somewhat pedestrian. Score: 5.5 out of 10.
If Stormy makes any other missteps in this initial filmmaking foray, it's the piling on of unnecessary plot. Even though from a completely technical standpoint this statement is more or less untrue, it still seems that there is far more non-sexual than sexual content in his XXX movie. The scenes between Kaylani, Pason and Evan drag on and over territory that could be better handled visually, and the entire subplot about Kris's character wanting to decorate Nick's home goes nowhere. Also, many of the actors have very little character to work with. Only Kaylani and Evan manage any dimension to their performance, and one suspects it comes directly from their own internal, not some scripted, insights. Overall though, One Night in Vegas is a professional, if a little too pleasant, introductory film by the usually amazing Ms. Daniels. Why she chose to stay behind the camera (she is one smokin' babe) is less than understandable, but she is the artist here, she's entitled to make all the decisions. Many of the misgivings described can be worked out in her future films, and Stormy's position in the industry is stable enough to see her becoming more adventurous in her aesthetic. One Night is Vegas is a nice first film. It just may be too nice for some.
Realizing that the right look for her films is as important as the action inside them, Stormy makes sure that her 1.33:1 full screen image looks presentable and professional. She is no Michael Ninn, or Chi Chi LaRue, but Stormy's cinematic sense is evident throughout this terrific transfer. Colors are correct (always a boon for skin-tone connoisseurs) and the contrasts are turned up just enough to keep the detail definite (with enough softness to keep the physicality flaws in check). With interesting sets, an ability to manipulate mood and an overall filmic feel, One Night in Vegas is a very good DVD production.
Stormy also avoids most of the aural issues surrounding a first-time feature, and the Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround mix is all the better for it. The director even tosses in some sonic silliness (every time Evan Stone says the name of his stripper character 'Thunder' a subtle heavy metal guitar riff plays off in the distance) to spice up the usual fuck film scoring. The dialogue is crystal clear and the ambience is open and warm. One Night in Vegas contains very welcoming audio attributes.
As is typical with most Wicked releases, One Night in Vegas is loaded with added content. The bonuses here are plentiful, and pretty good to boot. Among the trailers and galleries, star stats, pop shots and company merchandising, we get a series of featurettes, and a supplementary suck and fuck scene featuring Ms. Lei. The scene we witness is as follows:
Bonus Scene: Kaylani Lei, Mr. Marcus
From: Blue Rain (2003)
Directed by Michael Raven
Mr. Marcus, a towering black man, is a cop, and he's giving Kaylani quite the questioning. The couple starts off kissing and fondling, then move to the oral element. Ms. Lei begins the log lunching, giving lots of loving attention to Marcus's massive member. He returns the treatment by aggressively eating out Ms. Lei's haunches. Taking the tremendous tool inside her apparently bottomless beaver, the pair pork until it's time to shift. Doggie is up next, followed by the main mannerism, mish. Mr. Marcus pulls out, tosses aside the condom, and lets loose a mighty load that covers Kaylani from chest to cunt. This is a very hot scene, especially because of the substantial size difference. Marcus is a large, beefy presence and Kaylani is sweet and petite. Together, they create a spark that is substantial in its heat. Too bad the scene is so short. With a little more action, this would be a classic. Score: 7 out of 10.
Another main feature is the 25 minute Behind the Scenes featurette which really lives up to its title. We get to see how each scene was filmed, the technical elements that went into making them come to life, and how the cast and crew reacted to Stormy's taking charge on the set. The actress turned director is very hands on, explaining positions and even jumping in clothes on, of course to give a demonstration or two. As for the stars, both Kaylani and Evan joke around with the camera as Alexis laments the moving of her sex scene to the following day (guess she'll just have to go home and masturbate, she sighs). There is a lot of humor here, as well as an intimate profile of what it takes to make an adult film.
The other main extra is a series of interviews with Stormy and Kaylani. Both are personable, friendly and ready to gossip. But they also provide insight into what it takes to stay vital in the adult business, as well as expressing some of their personal and professional hopes and dreams. They add a nice element to this DVD presentation.
In keeping with the debut dimensions of the DVD, Stormy and her premiere production get a pass from the Dirge. While there are elements here that fail to live up to the level of lewdness one comes to expect from hardcore films, the sex overall is very erotic and Ms. Daniel's eye for talent is extremely telling. On the Disco Dirge Peter Meter, One Night in Vegas earns a 6.5 out of 10 and is recommended. Couples will clamor for more and more titles like this, since Stormy appears perfectly in sync with the shared sexual nature of most marital aides. Therefore, a Cohabitation Certification is easily awarded. Whether it's behind the camera or in front of it, Stormy seems destined to be a big name in the adult industry (if she isn't already). One Night in Vegas is a decent enough beginning for a career writing and directing features. The Dirge, for one, looks forward to what this talented gal has in store for us in the future.