Genre: Straight Feature Director: David Stanley Cast:: Jassie, Alana Evans, Courtney Simpson, Faith, Michelle Maylene, Randy Spears, Evan Stone, Tony Tedeschi, J. C. Stinger Length: 90 mins Production Date: 2005
Audio/Visual: In a Nutshell - A Little on the Soft Side, But Professional Nonetheless
David Stanley always strives to make his movies look as good as possible. The 1.33:1 full screen image here is no exception. With plenty of correct colors and decipherable details, the only drawback is an obvious amount of simulated soft focus. While it does render the sex sequences warm and inviting, it detracts from some of the hardcore action. We want to see our guy on gal (or girl/girl) dynamic in crystal clarity. A faux fog, while highly cinematic, can and does detract from the dicking.
Extras: In a Nutshell - A Decent Collection of Content
Wicked always overloads its DVDs with tons of added content. There are trailers, galleries, promotional materials, star showcases, and a catalog of titles. The best bonus features though are the Behind the Scenes featurette (17 minutes of onset insight) and an additional scene, featuring star Jassie and that luscious lady Stormy (from the film Not a Romance, 2002). Both gals look great, but the same sex sequence is rather routine. Though it takes place outdoors on the hood of a car, the standard oral action grows tiresome, even with babes as hot as this (Score: 2 out of 5).
A while back, the Dirge discussed something he found rather telling about the world of porn. While gonzo was going gross (or worse, goofy) and amateur was aching for lewdness legitimacy, the standard straight sex feature was turning tame and tepid. This critic even gave the floundering format a tag the "Triple P or PPP" film. The letters stood for "Pretty Passive Porn" and reflected a desire to make XXX movies that would play almost exclusively to the female/couples demographic. Perhaps it's time to modify that moniker a little. After watching the fresh and funny What Are Friends For?, a new set of sentiments can be applied to the acronym. Instead of passive and pretty, we can change the label to signify 'professional' and 'potent'. This loosey goosey farce is indeed a joy, both in the acting and the arousal department. Starting with a simple storyline Randy Spears and partner Jassie are called into the service of Sappho couple Alana Evans and Courtney Simpson to provide the sperm for their in vitro love child this cute comedy offers up some wonderful performances. While it's still more glamorous than gratuitous, it's interesting to see how groin grabbing this kind of carnality can be.
The Sex Scenes:
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Looking for the problem inside all the praise? The answer is relatively simple director Stanley is so eager to keep his film in the legitimate movie mode than he cuts up the sex scenes, inserting dialogue and other plot points in between the balling. Just as the passion builds up between a couple, the editing takes us out of the moment. Granted, this does make What Are Friends For? feel less vignette-oriented and more like a mainstream effort, but it also detracts from the Eros. This is especially true in the opening moments, when Randy Spears and Jassie must share screen time with Michelle Maylene, Tony Tedeschi, Faith and her partner JC Stinger. Both the Tony/Michelle Faith/JC sequences are supposed to be jumbled they are the porn our couple proper is watching to enliven their libido. But when it's interrupting a hot bit of oral or a nice slice of Mish, we lose the love.
Scene 1:Michelle Maylene, Tony Tedeschi Acts Performed:Bathtub Foreplay, Cunnilingus, Blowjob, Doggy, $hot on Tits Score:2.5 out of 5
Since it takes place in a bath, there is lots of sexy slick skin in this sequence. Michelle looks amazing covered in water, and her reactions to Tony's attentions are very sensual. Indeed, the only thing keeping this scene from being a wanton winner is the extensive inter-cutting, as well as the overall length. Since Stanley is making a 90 minute movie here, and needs to get through some major dialogue and narrative before addressing the nookie, the XXX action feels rushed. The lack of positions proves this out.
Scene 2:Jassie, Randy Spears Acts Performed:Cunnilingus, Foot Job, Blowjob, Cowgirl, Mish, $hot in Mouth Score:3.5 out of 5
Two pros proving that nothing says 'sizzle' better than adult actors who know what they're doing. Spears is always reliable, using his age and his appearance to bring a sense of maturity to the mix. Jassie is equally erotic, delivering an excellent sequence of foot fucking while perfectly complementing her partner's chemistry. Had Stanley allowed this pair to pork for 20 or 30 minutes, we'd have a masterpiece of XXX excitement. As it stands, this is still some of the best balling in the entire film.
Scene 3:Faith, JC Stinger / Jassie, Randy Spears Acts Performed:Masturbation, Cunnilingus, Blowjob, Doggy, Mish, $hot in Mouth / Blowjob, No $hot
Score:2.5 out of 5
As Randy gets some outstanding head (but, sadly, no pop), Faith and JC try to match the previous performances. They really can't compete. Both are competent and comfortable, doing everything to prove their passion for one another. But both are similarly bland faceless fuck facets tossed into a standard sex scene. Their lack of presence, as well as the equally limited number of positions, means that we have something akin to half a hardcore sequence. Again, it plays directly into the mainstream movie dynamic, but doesn't give the flesh fan the proper amount of poon.
Scene 4:Alana Evans, Courtney Simpson, Randy Spears Acts Performed:Girl on Girl Action with No Toys but Lots of Grinding, Implied Male Masturbation Score:2.5 out of 5
Again, Randy is on hand to play with his peter (not out in the open, but under his rather ridiculous religious robe) while our femmes get all frisky with one another. The Dirge is usually unimpressed with such same sex antics, but he has to admit that Alana and Courtney really poured on the fervor. Their foreplay was incredibly hot, and their last act grinding was totally believable in the babe busting department. Had the camera not cut to Spears arcing his asparagus every five minutes, the score would actually be significantly higher.
Scene 5:Courtney Simpson, Randy Spears Acts Performed:Hand Job Score:2 out of 5
Let's give Stanley credit here a hand job is usually nothing to write home about. An actress grabs a guy's groin, manipulates his meat for a few moments, and then they usually move on to something else. Here, the director decides to hold on the action and lets Courtney crank her co-star to climax. The result is very effective, especially with the petite Miss's mitten working all along Mr. Spears' substantial shaft. Any filmmaker that can make such adolescent backseat action appear erotic deserves some prurient praise.
Scene 6:Alana Evans, Jassie, Courtney Simpson, Evan Stone Acts Performed:Girl on Girl Action with No Toys but Lots of Grinding, Cowgirl, Mish, V to M, Face Fucking, Ball Fu, Mish, Pile Driver, $hot into Test Tube Score:3 out of 5
Our final scene is a well managed orgy, two couples getting off in easy to follow, expertly directed sex sequences. Another reliable face from the industry that beefy beach boy Evan Stone is perfectly paired with the tiny Ms. Simpson. When she rides his monster meat in the Cowgirl position, you can tell she's overstuffed and loving every minutes of it. Jassie and Alana make a fetching female couple, and grinding is back to give the gals a nice touch of flaming physicality. Spears interrupts the action once, walking in to mug for the camera before returning to his room, and Stanley doesn't try to constantly include him via intercutting. With a pop shot that fails to find its target (Courtney with a test tube in her mouth makes for a rather weird visual) and a rather routine wrap up to the story, What Are Friends For? finishes on an interesting if not novel note of nookie.
Disco Dirge Peter Meter Rating:3 out of 5 (Recommended) Cohabitation Certification:Granted
The Dirge prefers comedies where the porn stars poke fun at their fuck and suck personas. Randy Spears and Evan Stone are constantly cracking on their meat puppet propensities, and with the help of a fine looking cast of females, director David Stanley has delivered a real winner. The only reason this title fails to earn a rating higher than Recommended is the overall running time. Most XXX fans expect two hours plus of pork for their bang buck. With so much plot taking up room for the risquι, there will be those who find this release lacking in maximum slap and tickle. Couples, however, will cream over this pretty, professional and potent package, and even those finicky fans of the hardest hardcore may be moved by the intensity of action here. Certainly there are more aggressive titles on the market, but What Are Friends For? wants to balance force with filmmaking to be more like a mainstream movie. It almost succeeds.