Extras: The second disc had some fine extras, starting off with a 47:04 minute long Bonus footage feature. It began with Rick showcasing newcomer Marissa but things did not work out as expected and it was called a "failed first attempt" since she could not get off with a series of toys. There was then some action with Naomi which was poorly lit but she did seem to get off (even trying out toys in her ass). Karlie Montana was the last of the trio highlighted on the second disc, the beautiful lady having fun but showing she was "unable to fake it" as she got off. It looked good to me though and I enjoyed the bedroom scene. There was also a photogallery and a 49:01 minute long series of interviews with Naomi Cruise, Charlie Laine, Karlie Montana, Brie Giovanni, Michelle Honeywell, and Rucca Page. Some of them were better than others but it still served up some playful antics by the ladies. The double disc case also had a really cool booklet form photogallery with many of the ladies pictured (I hope to see more of this kind of thing if possible).
Audio/Video Quality: Shameless Amateurs was presented in 1.78:1 ratio anamorphic widescreen color as shot by director Rick Shameless for Frathouse Films to be presented in this MPEG-2 encoded, 480i resolution standard definition release. The video bitrate varied considerably but tended to remain fairly close to the 3.2 Mbps mark, the lack of compression artifacts noticed (and appreciated) despite jamming so much footage on the first disc of the set. The lighting varied tremendously since some scenes were shot in cars during the daytime (even in a carwash in one case), others were shot with minimal lighting in a bedroom at night, and still others were shot under different circumstances that lesser directors would have been unable to handle. I am pleased to report that the raw energy from each scene was captured no matter what technical limitations the scenes may have had, something I have long noticed about most Shane's World releases too (they are the parent company distributing the movie). The audio was offered up in the usual 2.0 Dolby Digital English using the 192 Kbps bitrate and 48 kHz sampling rate, the audio captured from the microphone attached to the camera from what I could tell. I didn't observe any separation in the channels and the dynamic range was minimal but the moans and groans seemed authentic in most cases, and that is really more than one should expect from most modern porn titles in my experience.
Body of Review: One of the things you may have learned about modern porn movies is that most of it is pretty lame unless you just can't get enough sex in your life. I don't say that in a mean way but the jerk off one time and forget about replay value is largely attributed to the disposable nature of the industry, the cutting of corners driving the efforts to make movies as cheaply as possible. Some of this is because the harsh economic times but even when it was nearly impossible to fail at making smut, some companies figured out that most consumers won't hold them to the same standards as yours truly (and a number of other dedicated reviewer/critics online) so I really appreciate seeing titles that offer me something better even if the specific genre is not one of my favorites. One such title that I was handed at the 2009 AEE was Shameless Amateurs, a series of female masturbation scenes by director Rick Shameless. I like watching ladies masturbate but so few of these titles really set themselves apart so I wondered what additional value would Rick bring to this title, the first of his that I've seen in years IIRC. After hearing several of my unofficial porn advisory committee members from other companies sing the man's praises, I spoke at great length to Nate Glass, who is probably the most traveled man in the industry these days; his journey across America documented on his Porn Newz website. Nate is one of the few PR types that I can listen to without rolling my eyes these days, even when we disagree he manages to bring up lots of salient points about titles his people release as well as others.
Nate told me that Rick has a rare talent for finding ladies and getting the very best scenes out of them, not just newcomers but established industry professionals as well. I have seen a handful in the industry pull off similar feats, guys like Justice Young, Manuel Ferrara, and others so I sat back to see whether Rick was the latest in this noble succession of men. My observations found that this was not hype almost immediately too, Rick was getting some nasty solo action out of a wide variety of ladies and I LIKED WHAT I SAW! The back cover said it like this: "Get up close and personal with 15+ adorable amateur girls as they show off for you and sometimes get downright adventurous! These are real girls having their most secret moments documented and letting you into their real lives. Whether it be in San Francisco, Palm Springs, or driving through the local car wash, these girls want to show you what actually gets them to a real orgasm. Come along and get a true peek into the sexy minds and bodies of naughty young amateurs!"
For the most part, the main movie had nine separate scenes (one starring Karlie Montana and Charlie Laine diddling themselves beside each other on a bed) with addition sex taking place on the second bonus disc. Some of the ladies would start masturbating as Rick drove them down the public streets and others would display public nudity while still others stayed in bed or on generic furniture as they did the deed. Georgia even masturbated as the car went through a carwash while Brie Giovanni showed her assets in the swimming pool (note to her, my pool is always open to you). Some gals masturbated more than once and all of them appeared to get off readily using fingers or various vibrators, Rick jumping in to lend a hand (or finger) as needed. Even the ladies that were not particularly attractive to me had me sporting wood and my only point of contention would be that several of the ladies were established industry veterans so calling them "amateurs" weakened the overall effort slightly.
The good news was that all the scenes had a lot to enjoy about them and as a fan of the Shane's World/Frat House Films dynamic of public nudity/sex, I knew the replay value here was very, very high for my tastes. The unpredictability factor of the action added some appeal too since there did not seem to be a strict formula applied to the scenes other than requiring the ladies to get off for real. If you pay close attention to some of the scenes, you may also notice how the ladies appeared to adore Rick too, this at least partially explaining how he was able to coax out such heated solo scenes from them in the first place. Frankly, even the second disc of extras that included failed attempts to get a good scene, lengthy interviews, and the paper magazine of still shots inside the DVD case made me think that someone really tried to make this a special effort. By and large, Rick succeeded on multiple levels and I hope to see what else the talented young director will come up with in 2009.
Summary: Shameless Amateurs by director Rick Shameless was a whole lot of fun with substantial replay value, strokability, and a cast of ladies that really pulled through for the guy. The heat appeared to be genuine and the effort to make the scenes at least somewhat spontaneous added plenty to the double disc offering so I rated it as Highly Recommended. I know that this was a case where my adage about quality came into play and I honestly can't see anyone watching this walking away as anything less than impressed at how the elements came together so well. In short, if you are looking for a solid set of female solo masturbation scenes starring gals that were not glammed up or made to look plastic, you really cannot go wrong with Shameless Amateurs so check it out and find out for yourself what kind of magic Rick Shameless conjured up this time. Great job!
---- 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