Dates of Production: 12/14/2003, 1/4/2004, 2/1/2004
Extras: There were no extras.
Audio/Video Quality: Virtual Girlfriends was presented with a choice of a "High Def" version (in WMV-HD) and a standard version that would play on any regular DVD player manufactured at this time. The High Def version does not refer to the upcoming HD-DVD or Blu-Ray DVD systems but a somewhat intermediate step in the evolution of the quality wars we'll be seeing all too soon. The most common way to play such a DVD would be with a very specialized player or through the use of Windows Media Player 9.0 or above (which was what I watched the better quality picture in). The company said this about the computer requirements of this version: "The recommended Minimum Requirements for playback in High Def from a computer are: Windows XP or Media Center Edition or newer Operating System; CPU: Intel 2.5 GHz or AMD XP2200+ or higher; 4x AGP video - NVidia or ATI with at least 64Mb RAM or more plus the latest drivers updates; Screen resolution of at least 1280x1024 (or 1280x720 if you have a 16x9 monitor); and ... Windows Media 9 Player is required." My computer exceeded those standards by a healthy margin but I had some issues playing the WMV-HD version of the DVD that slowed down my computer until I just let it play after closing out all the other windows I had open (and even a few programs that are not resource intensive). This being the third release by High Def Home Entertainment, I was hoping for some improvement on the 16:9 anamorphic widescreen picture (aspect ratio of 1.85:1) but it occasionally played choppy though this time, I could properly evaluate the action on both versions. The lighting was low enough that the colors looked artificially saturated and too dark with some grain and minor video noise issues at times. The composition of the shots made it look like the cameraman or director were trying to emulate a Playboy shoot but never reached the heights of one of those shows (by a long shot too). The 2.0 Dolby Digital English stereo track was decent enough if you like generic couples music playing but there didn't seem to be any separation between the channels and the vocals were limited to the initial part of each scene.
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Body of Review: Okay, so I've watched some of the initial releases by High Def Home Entertainment and found them to be visually appealing, if not a quantum leap ahead in terms of visual resolution and sexual passion. For a start up company poised to make a breakthrough, I think they could do really well if they'd just cultivate a decent director and decide on the type of market niche they wanted to cover. Their latest release I caught was High Def Erotica: Virtual Girlfriends, something more in tune with the Playboy erotica shows than porn, although they did include some masturbation and full nudity you won't tend to see from Hefner's gals. I think the idea of offering better quality visuals just before the format wars break out is somewhat of a mistake but they've been in the business for some time now, and have indicated that they will be taking the next step too. In any case, this particular offering of theirs is mainly the listed ladies stripping and giving a tease show where they masturbate a little bit (no dicks allowed either). If you're looking for something slightly edgier than many other such shows, this might work nicely for you too. Here's a breakdown of the scenarios and the ladies in the scenes for those of you still interested:
Scene One: New Age Girl: Monique Alexander, the hotty on the upper middle of the front DVD cover, was up first in this scene captured long before she was a Vivid contract gal. She slowly undressed on the sheepskin rug by the extravagant fireplace with tons of candles burning, showing off the same assets that have impressed many a fan (and coaxed out many a load), in the low lit scenario presented. If this is enough to get you off, by all means be very careful of her recent work at Vivid (admittedly not known for their hardcore nature either) but I can understand how a fan of hers would like this scene, even lacking any actual sex taking place.
Scene Two: The Student: Penny Flame, playing a tutor on a couch with her glasses on and made to look like a dweeby nerd, was up next as she played a clumsy gal wanting to show another side of her personality (one centered on sex rather than brains). She went with the standardized formula and did a little masturbation but the emphasis was once again on her posing and prancing about for the camera. I have long thought she was a hotty so I enjoyed it but the lower level lighting did not do her justice and caused the oversaturated colors to weaken the visual appeal for me as several of these scenes seemed to do.
Scene Three: Nature Girl: Goldie, a large busted gal with an English accent, was up next as she started her scene inside a house under construction. She wanted to go for a walk and "show you something" as she carried her tiny blue jean shorts riding up her crack and white cut off shirt showed her impressive chest. She's the kind of gal that needs special attention in the make up department and with special camera work to look her best but was by no means a hideous looking bitch. Her tease session was outside in a wilderness area and it was light on the masturbation action but fans of large breasts will just be happy to have seen them up close and personal.
Scene Four: Workout Girl: Jamie Lynn, the brunette on the lower right hand corner of the front DVD cover, was up next as she worked out in her home gym. She actually has one of those bodies that looks better with a little clothing on though fans of freckles will appreciate her just fine. Her tease in front of the picture window was less enthusiastic then I wish it had been though she was built almost as much for speed as she was for comfort. It wasn't a great scene (none of them were for stroking purposes) but she had some nice potential.
Scene Five: Beach Bunny: Gen Padova, a skinny gal in a blue bikini, was up next as she showed off her wares on a boat. While she is admittedly not your classic beauty, I've chatted with her and seen how a lot of guys are drawn to the openness she conveys and the girl next door look she has; both of which carried forth here in the scene that largely took place in the cabin below deck. She seemed quicker to get all her clothes off than the others, perhaps not the best idea considering the nature of the show, but she was one to masturbate more too so your mileage will vary as to whether or not you like the home movie look to the entire scene.
Scene Six: The Doctor: Victoria Zdrok, the well known pinup model featured on the front DVD cover's left side, played at being a doctor though she seemed far more like her Penthouse Pet of the Year persona than any other kind of professional. Her lingerie looked almost mannish or part of a business suit but that's just my off the top of my head comment so don't fuss about it too much. She did her routine on a bed too and seemed far more at ease wiggling about than Gen did but had a professional manner about her that made the whole scene seem too polished for me. Her lipstick looked to be applied with a trowel (much like Bridgette Kerkove's used to be) though I'm sure many of you wouldn't mind one bit if she were to smear some of it on various parts of your body straight from the lips. Lower lighting, like that of a strip club, would've assisted her look in the scene more than most of the others shown in the movie.
Summary: Virtual Girlfriends was worth a rating of Rent It for me largely because it offered the kind of action listed on the cover and didn't seem to have as many technical issues as Easy Like Sunday Morning had for me. Better extras would've been nice, as would the ability to play the higher resolution show on my regular DVD player but I understand why that wouldn't work. Better direction and lighting would've enhanced the look of the show far more than the gimmick of the WMV-HD format that seems destined for obsolescence in a very short time outside of webcasts but I can't blame HDHE for trying to offer something admittedly a step outside the pack. While this one stopped short of the many virtual sex shows you can pick up these days, it had some stroke potential for fans (and the inclusion of Penny and Monique was a bonus all by itself).