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Hard Candy

Studio: Digital Playground » Review by Don Houston » Review Date: 4/21/06

XCritic's Advice: Recommended

Hard Candy 1

Digital Playground/Handheld Pictures

Genre: Vignette, Youth

Director: Robby D.

Cast: Valery, Nadia, Scott Nails, Riley Mason, Mick Blue, Claire Robbins, Leah Luv, Holly Morgan; Keri Sable (bonus scene only)

Length: 98 minutes

Date of Production: 8/31/2004

Extras: Amazingly enough, there were a couple of different extras this time, starting with a fine tease performance by Keri Sable, the now-retired contract star from Wicked Pictures. One of the benefits of holding onto scenes for such a long time is the archival nature they possess when finally released. I'd rather the scene was used long ago but it's still cool to see one of the last scenes Keri will be in (at least if things work out for her current plans). See my description of the scene below. There was also a cum shot recap from the scenes. I'm not a fan of them but some fans are and it was a step in the right direction for Digital Playground in terms of addressing consumer demand. The other extras this time were a photogallery, slide show and trailers to movies like Control 2, Control, My First Porn, Pirates, Island Fever, Porcelain, Jack's Big Tit Show, Deeper, Jack's POV, Teen America: 13.

Condoms: None

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Audio/Video Quality: Hard Candy 1 was presented in 1.85:1 ratio anamorphic widescreen as shot by Robby D. for release by Digital Playground. This was shot with at least as much care as most volumes of the Jack series, using more light and reducing the grain considerably compared to some of Robby's earlier efforts. This held true for the video noise and other visual matters although I know Robby tends to add those to instill a sense of gonzo and texture to the series. Without resorting to listing the hardly noticeable visual elements that didn't work 100%, suffice it to say that some scenes were incredibly well handled and the others were still above average (and that says a lot considering Robby's credentials in camera work). The fleshtones were accurate and I saw no compression artifacts so even the DVD mastering was on par with the usual Digital Playground treatment. Of particular note was the wonderful use of daylight in Leah Luv's scene, providing a largely perfect visual treat compared to some of the darker indoor scenes. Without the gonzo format to detract from some of the "mistakes" that Robby adds into his movies, some of the editing was more noticeable (and abrupt), but it did provide a contrast to some of his other material. The 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround sound was pretty good but it was also apparent that the vocals were recorded in monaural and the track processed later to provide the 5.1 so don't think you're going to showcase your home theatre set up with this one any more than you would with a typical gonzo production made elsewhere. The vocals were typically easy to hear (with a few exceptions) and there were no special effects this time to get in the way of the action. Some scenes barely had any vocals at all in fact, a choice that many will appreciate more than I did.

Body of Review: Digital Playground was once known for their couples porn and Virtual Sex series until the wisdom of the owners expanded what they could offer the marketplace. They then focused on two separate tiers; one being some great features and the other a variety of gonzo titles by Robby D. More recently, the company moved into erotica by Celeste but the truth is, they have largely relied on Robby's skill with a camera to provide their best stroke flicks to date. His latest release is Hard Candy 1, a new series that breaks away from the Jack's Playground efforts and provides a straightforward set of unrelated vignettes, unhampered by Robby's vocals in the background. The primary focus of the series is to showcase youthful looking women and on that note, it was a pretty solid effort but even more so thanks to the performances the ladies offered up. I like Robby's gonzo efforts and I doubt titles like this will supplant my desire to see what he pulls out of his hat next but it did provide an interesting show. Here's a breakdown of the scenes by cast and action, noting that condoms were used and there were a couple of treats in store for the viewer:

Scene One: Valery and Nadia, a couple of attractive brunettes, were dressed like a couple of Catholic schoolgirls as they smoked and talked shit about life in general (as young girls do) outside of the large house. Scott Nails, playing an older pervert (big leap there, huh?), put on his moves with them rebuffing him soundly before they went into the house to see his "big cock". I'd put the age of the gals at early twenties but they were appealing nonetheless, especially since they didn't just give it up immediately as others do in Robby's movies. The gals played with one another on the stairs after slowly stripping and he joined in, their hesitation completely gone in the blink of an eye (something to work on in the future). I liked the change of pace where the camera wasn't part of the scene too, even at the expense of Robby's often funny comments. The gals did seem impressed by Scott's manhood, stroking it and sucking him off handily in terms, leading to some pleasing vaginal boning. The ladies did some taste testing (PTM and PTOGM) as they assisted one another during the screwing, with some of the audio apparently coming from a loop. It ended when he stroked off to their faces (as they knelt before him) with Valery slightly breaking the illusion by repeatedly looking at the camera. Still, it was a very solid scene in most ways, as all three of them appeared to have fun.

Scene Two: Riley Mason, a very lean brunette who embraces the Goth look some of you really get into, was up next as she played a girl locked out of her house who waited at Mick Blue's place for her parents to come home. He played a finicky guy obsessed with cleanliness and she started, gasp, touching things he cleaned as well as changing the classical music to rocker crud as she stripped off her clothing. He was shy but she took charge, throwing him down on the couch to suck his dick (at his limited protest). It was a good hummer, done in the fashion of a real porn teenager, complete with a short titty fuck before he started getting into the action. He then took her from behind and they had a fairly active romp with PTM and a 69. They screwed vaginally some more and he rubbed out a load to her face in the second, and also good, scene.

Scene Three: Claire Robbins, a gal with a plain face but very appealing body, was up next in what amounted to a limited return to the gonzo format as she pranced around in her white cotton top and tight blue shorts to Robby's appreciation. Out of nowhere and without a word, she started sucking off Scott Nails slowly inside the large house, in a POV fashion scene. They screwed vaginally and she did some PTM, moving to an enthusiastic anal that was cut short to showing her sitting on a barstool (with her ample ass hanging off the edge). Personally, I hate such edits although the point was probably to chill the viewer out from losing their load too early, allowing for some more tease before resuming the backdoor fun by the glass railing of the second story staircase. The scene then ended with a mouth pop and her walking around the house naked some more, a fetching sight to behold.

Scene Four: Leah Luv, a little bleach blonde cutie that'll be playing teenage roles for years given her look (at least until she loses the braces), was up next in the passenger seat of the pickup truck as she teased Mick Blue. He felt her up and she returned the favor, soon exiting the vehicle for more maneuvering room. The blowjob was short but they went right to vaginally boning away with her moaning as she pushed back on his rod. She did some PTM after boning some more and took the show to the bed of the truck for some energetic anal (with ATM). She wasn't as active a rider in the anal, especially the second position (reverse cowgirl) but the lighting of the scene was perfect most of the time. It ended abruptly with the facial, and was a decent scene overall.

Scene Five: Holly Morgan, the cutie on the front cover and oldest looking gal of the show, was up next in a scene with Scott Nails where he played a control freak boyfriend upset at his girl for coming home late and then not washing her hands. Interrupting what would've been a swell blowjob, he made her wash her hands (I was surprised too) and the erotic nature of the act was actually pretty good for me. Keeping in mind that Holly is best known for her solo and lesbian scenes (the cover advertised this as being her "first big cock"), the scene was a welcome experience (I've seen her numerous times and wanted to see her take a hard hairy one deep inside her pussy). From him orally working her over to her providing a slow, teasingly coy blowjob, the scene worked on many levels for me (though more titty fucking might've been nice). The edits and camera work were more noticeable here than usual but the bone-fest in the kitchen was pretty good considering her level of on-camera experience with a cock. It ended as expected as he rubbed out a load to her face, and to her credit she didn't shy away even if she didn't swallow, marking a unique (and satisfying) scene.

Bonus Scene: Keri Sable, wearing a stripper schoolgirl outfit and her hair in a couple of balls (modified Princess Leia look), was given the better part of ten minutes to tease the camera as she stripped, gyrated, and allowed Robby D. to feel her up in front of a crud green couch. It was very limited but as a rare extra on one of Robby's movies and a parting tribute to Keri Sable, it had some merit and replay value.

Summary: Hard Candy 1 was exactly that; some hardcore eye candy with great replay value. I could nitpick as to how Keri Sable's bonus scene could've been more hardcore or how another hour of footage would've been nice but the quality of the scenes was such that each provided solid performances by a youthful cast who seemed to enjoy their work. The technical values were better than average and as shot, the series addresses some of the criticisms of the various Jack series without losing sight of the reason people buy porn over (stroke value). It was a good opening title for the series and I hope Robby expands on some of the concepts even more to provide something for those that find the amusing Jack series a bit over the top at times. In short, Hard Candy shows the continued expansion of Digital Playground into areas fans have demanded, showcasing young ladies having a good time in hardcore scenes without the third party chatter. As a supplement to the Jack titles, I think a lot of you will be happy with this advancement in the format, earning a Recommended or better, depending on what you like to see.

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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