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Studio: Wicked Pictures » Review by Don Houston » Review Date: 4/26/05

XCritic's Advice: Recommended


Wicked Pictures

Genre: Feature

Director: Michael Raven

Assistant Director: Jonathan Morgan

Cast: Destiny St. Claire, Evan Stone, Nicole Sheridan, Exotica, Stormy Daniels, Mark Wood, Roxanne Hall, Eric Masterson, Barrett Blade; Mark Davis (bonus scene)
Non-sex roles by: Voodoo, Mark Nicholson

Length: 72.5 minutes

Date of Production: 10/1/2004

Extra's: The extras package here was very well developed with lots of great material for fans of the DVD format. Some of you will appreciate the bonus scene from Suspicious Minds between Stormy Daniels and Mark Davis while others will enjoy looking for the many silly Easter Eggs (slugs, beaver shots, spiders, and the like). I really liked the 30+ minute long All Access: The Making of Neighbors by Mark Stone the most though since it detailed a number of funny moments, some sex, and a lot of the performers got a chance to shine. From Jonathan Morgan's attempts to quiet a local home improvement contractor, to Stormy's elusive answer about where she got the idea for the script, to seeing more of the lesbian scene between Nicole Sheridan and Exotica, and more, the feature was well done and lengthy. Another great extra was a 52.5 minute long Behind the Scenes sex reel that had more footage from the scenes involving the good old bump and grind. I know the footage would've looked better as part of the movie in some cases but the nature of making a couples friendly porno is such that at least we get to see more sex here rather than never at all (the feature was very short due to this editing).

Okay, the next extra was a "Take 5" writer's perspective with Stormy Daniels telling Mark Stone. It only lasted about 4 minutes but it helped explain the sometimes rushed nature of the movie a lot. There was a short, 2 minute, bit on the cat fight between Nicole Sheridan and Exotica; a nearly two minute "Wet Fun" bit with those two on the slip and slide; a number of photogalleries, a four minute long interview with Stormy and Exotica by Mark Stone, a nearly three minute interview with Destiny St. Claire; the usual promotional reels, DVD Rom materials, trailers, Wicked Pictures DVD catalog, and spam as well as a double sided DVD cover. Whew!

Condoms: Yes

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Audio/Video Quality: Neighbors was presented in a very pleasing 1.85:1 widescreen color. It looked exceptionally clear on a widescreen television as well as my own projection set. The colors were accurate, the detail great, the composition of the shots nicely done, and the editing very good for the material shown (although I got the feeling that some scenes were filmed but excised in the cutting room by director/editor Michael Raven). The grain was minimal, even in the night scenes, and the use of light seemed very advanced for a modern porno. I saw no compression artifacts, video noise or edge enhancement, making this a fine looking movie to enjoy. The audio was presented with the usual Wicked Pictures 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround in English or a separate 2.0 German dub. While the English track was very even and pleasant, it made scant use of the surround features and most of the audio came from the front channels. I hope Wicked Pictures encourages its directors to explore this aspect of their movies in the future but I'm not holding my breath just yet.

Body of Review: Stormy Daniels is one of the shining contract stars employed by Wicked Pictures known as much for her great looks as her curvy figured and talented performances. These days, she also manages to write scripts for the company, proving her talents go beyond being eye candy. Her latest movie is Neighbors, a comedic drama where she starts off as an obsessive gal wanting her old flame back but learns to find love in the midst of a group of wacky neighbors. My first impression of the movie was how short it was, clocking in at a bit over 72 minutes, but the extras included a lot of footage edited out so those of us wanting "more" will be able to get it in spades. My second impression, and I almost didn't think about it, was how good the picture looked even in the night scenes; an area where porn typically fumbles with excessive grain and video noise. Thankfully, Wicked had director Michael Raven, assistant director Jonathan Morgan, and even Francois Clousot chipping in his talents to make this a collaborative effort that really looked good. The comedy aspects, often revolving around Evan Stone, were cute if not great, and the dramatic acting was somewhat stilted, often coming off as a cold reading, but I'd be misleading you if I said I didn't enjoy the overall DVD package. Here's a quick look at the scenes, noting it was primarily oral and straight sex, with a little lesbian action tossed in for good measure:

Scene One: Destiny St. Claire, a brunette that looks very much like a younger, leaner version of Wicked Pictures contract star Devinn Lane, was first up as the mighty Evan Stone, teased her with his penis on a couch. She gave him as much oral as he'd let her give, with him wearing a snorkeling outfit (perhaps he was "muff diving"?) before the two boned in earnest. She gave some throaty groans as the techno-rappish music played in the background and he went in balls deep. I'll admit she looked good but the scene itself seemed slower than usual and somewhat limited. He ended it by jerking off to her face and mouth as she donned the mask he wore earlier in the scene. I did sense some chemistry between them but the energy was limited more than I prefer.

Scene Two: Nicole Sheridan, the busty blonde known far and wide as a great lay, and dark-haired curvy cutie Exotica, started off a very short lesbian scene by playing on a slip and slide on their lawn. They kissed, ate each other out and fingered one another a bit but as great as they looked, the scene was truncated and hardly wetted my appetite before ending.

Scene Three: Stormy Daniels, the hot blonde lead of the movie featured on the front and back of the DVD cover, had a fantasy sequence with former boyfriend Mark Wood in a bed at night. Okay, I like Mark as much as anyone but the way the script was written to have her pining over him the entire movie was a huge stretch of the imagination. In any case, the scene was pretty interesting (admittedly, I'm a fan of hers) as the two went at it with some chemistry and playfulness. On a technical note, even though the scene was shot at night (or at least in a darkened room), there wasn't the kind of grain most other production companies have in similar efforts. The two gave each other oral before she energetically rode him, almost as if she were doing the fucking, with her hip grinding very exciting for me. In all, it was well done although also kind of short for my tastes.

Scene Four: Roxanne Hall, still looking very desirable after all these years, had a scene with Eric Masterson on a couch where she began by caressing his back (and backside), even giving him a playful spanking. The two gave some pleasant oral to one another and but for the droning music, I thought it was really good for a couples scene. She was looking better than ever and even with just an oral/straight sex scene, the couple managed to appear as though they wanted to be there as they generated plenty of heat. While not as pleasing as Stormy's scene, I hope Wicked Pictures uses her in more scenes in the future.

Scene Five: Stormy Daniels, this time looking more frantic, goes to new boy toy Barrett Blade, after dumping her old boyfriend as he tried to make up with her. There had been a very short scene between Exotica and Voodoo, then a catfight between her (Exotica) and Nicole Sheridan, which in most porn would've led to a great scene but that was but one of the missed opportunities here. Regardless, Stormy and Barrett went to the kitchen and had some very sweet oral before boning (again at night). When I see a performer only doing night scenes, I tend to think she's hiding something (just as camera angles can do so, light is used similarly) but the cinematography was well done and my general suspicions allayed for the most part as the couple energetically did their work. With an almost erotic quality, the fine scene ended a decent, if couples oriented, movie.

Summary: Neighbors wasn't one of the huge extravaganzas that Wicked Pictures is world renowned for but I think couples will find a whole lot to enjoy here. The visual artistry, the attractive cast, the technical matters, and the great DVD extras all helped make this one a title worth a rating of Recommended. The story drew from Stormy's personal life and that's the foundation of most compelling stories but as a porno, it worked on several levels too. In short, Neighbors was a movie you can share with that special someone far more readily than most of what's on the shelves at your local porn emporium but kept a sense of energy and chemistry missing from so many similar efforts. Check it out and you'll see what I mean.

You can email me with questions at Houstondon @ hotmail.com if you have any constructive criticism of the review too. :) Also you can follow me on twitter @HoustonDon

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