Director: Eddie Powell Writer: Jacky St. James Cast: Anthony Rosano, Riley Reid, Xander Corvus, Dana DeArmond, Danny Mountain, Giovanni Francesco, and Lexi Bloom. Condoms: Yes
Like the other installments in the New Sensations Romance Series, The Friend Zone starts off like a conventional movie. This time it's Anthony Rosano and Riley Reid who start it off with a Rom-com set up with Rosano reminding me a little of Andy Samberg. The set up is pretty conventional, Rosano has developed a fantastic relationship with Reid with one thing missing - the sex. Rosano is in... The Friend Zone. We get about 10 minutes of setup and story before the first sex scene.
The non-sex scene that starts it off is top notch with special effects, motion picture quality music and fantastic editing.
Scene 1: Lexi Bloom and Danny Mountain
You have to hand it to Lexi Bloom, in this scene with Danny Mountain she seems engaged and enjoying herself every second of the scene. Her oral work (although it would have been nice to see it go on longer) is superb and she absolutely rocks it when she's on top of Mountain. She's active in the scene without overtaking Danny who does an exceptional job of matching her intensity. Eddie shoots the scene well and a lot of the focus is on Lexi's enjoyment of the sex than anything else. The scene is extremely well edited, it maintains a continuity to the action without ever feeling too static. Great chemistry, superb action by Lexi and sold work from Danny.
Positions: Cunnalingus, blow job, woman on top, spooning, doggie style, collapsed doggies style. missionary, cum on her pussy. (condoms from fucking to the end where it's cum on her) Sex runs about 15 mins.
There's a non-sex scene that happens between the two after the sex which is short but extremely well done.
What follows is a good block of non-sex narrative that deals with Rosano and Reid both deciding to do some online dating which leads to some interesting situational comedy. The acting in these segments are top notch, again it's hard to believe this level of all around film making is happening in porn.
Scene 2: Xander Corvus and Dana DeArmond
The scene starts out with some great non-sex interaction between Xander and Dana. Dana is exceptional here. It's the kind of acting that begs us to ask why isn't she doing more cross over work!?! But the point really is, porn stars who can act don't have to cross over anymore as there's high demand for them in films like this.
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The scene with Xander starts out with some nice kissing and great interaction between Xander and Dana. Xander eats Dana out and then she shows off her oral skills, which are top notch. The oral sex here goes on for quite a while which is good as both seem to really enjoy it. Once they start fucking, it's standing with Dana against the wall. Dana seems genuinely into it and Xander matches her intensity perfectly. It's an extremely solid scene, especially considering that they fuck in a bathroom.
Positions: Cunnalingus, blow job, hand job, standing fucking, standing doggie, missionary (on a bathroom ledge), cum on her pussy. (Condoms on from fucking till the end money shot). Sex runs around 17 mins.
After this sex scene is a good chunk of non-sex narrative that's a lot of fun, soft of a little porn send up of the Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks comedy "You've Got Mail".
Scene 3: Lexi Bloom and Giovanni Francesco
Woo hoo, another scene with Lexi Bloom. Her frist one with Danny Mountain was so enjoyable it's nice to see that she's given another scene with Giovanni Francesco. The scene starts with some non-sex dialogue and then moves along to some kissing. The scene gets a pretty slow start with Giovanni being a little bit of a pillow queen while Lexi gives him a long slow blow job. Unlike the last scene this one movies along slowly with lots and lots of kissing.
Unfortunately this scene is a little too slow given its place in the movie. A slower scene like this could have worked a lot better towards the start of the film and here it drags a little bit. Giovanni's cunnalngus may be the most dull pussy eating I've ever seen. Someone needs to take his pulse. You've got to hand it to Lexi, she puts her all into this scene with very little to work with from Giovanni (other than some grunt and thrust).
Lexi is great when she finally gets on top and can realy rock things. It's clear her chemistry was better with Danny Mountain but again she's a pro and helps make this scene work. But man Giovanni is as dull as dishwater here, and his cum shot (although voluminous) was one of the most boring cum shots I've ever scene.
Positions: blow job, kissing, cunnalingus, missionary, woman on top, doggie style, spooning, cum on her chest. (condoms on for sex till cum shot). Sex runs 20 minutes but feels longer.
The next non-sex segment is really really good. Again so impressed to see a sequence like this in an adult film. It feels straight out of a mainstream film. Anthony Rosano is really great here. If you didn't know it, you'd doubt that this guy was in porn.
Scene 4: Anthony Rosano and Riley Reid
The whole film builds up to this scene, and it starts off really sweet. The two characters finally declare their love for each other and the start of this scene feels less like two porn stars who are going to fuck than two people about to make love. Once it moves to the action things really heat up. Riley Reid is great as Anthony eats her out. Riley does some great oral and then puts a condom on Rosano. It was a nice touch. Riley is great on top and she's evenly matched by Rosano. It's crystal clear that these two have GREAT chemistry and this scene feels like watching a couple fucking rather than two porn stars. Eddie Powell really lets these two fuck and instead of flipping them through a whole bunch of positions he lets the action play out. Riley Reid never lets up, she's ino this scene 100% and so is Anthony.
Postitions: cunnalingus, blow job, woman on top, missionary, cunnalingus, spooning, missionary, cum on her pussy. (condoms on from sex till just before cum shot). Sex runs just over 20 mins).
The final (sorta) non-sex scene is very Woody Allen-esque and provides a great ending to the film.
Audio and Video: Shot in HD, The Friend Zone looks a lot like film with a slight matte look to the film. Sound is crystal clear in 5.1 with a superb soundtrack. There's a small audio glitch in the scene with Lexi Bloom and Giovanni Francesco but it's extremely minor.
Extras: Outtakes, Behind The Scenes, Photo Gallery & Pick Your Pleasure Menu. The Outtakes run about 8 mins and are a combination of scenes that get messed up and some funny bits from the cast, about half the outtakes are funny. The Behind The Scenes runs about 1/2 hour and is a really nice casual look at the performers in the film. There's some good stuff with Xander and Anthony which is fun (including Xander shaving his mustache). There's also a nice intimate chat with Dana DeArmond which is cool. There's a bit between Anthony and Riley which shows what great chemistry they have off screen. The interview with Xnander is great "does anyone really do piledriver at home?!" A nice rundown from him as well as what makes good sex, it would be worth it for New Sensations to break this interview out and put it up on Youtube, it's REALLY good advice and Xander comes off really honestly and shows why so many studios love to work with him.
Final Thoughts: Like many of the other entries in the Romance Series, if I popped in The Friend Zone for someone who has never seen a porn, they'd never in a million years believe that THIS is porn. The performances are on par with many mainstream romantic comedies I've seen. Riley Reid is truly charming and Anthony Rosano is hilarious. Lexi Bloom is super cute and full of spunk and Dana DeArmond does some great acting (could easily see her on a Shotime show).
The focus for the sex is really on the pleasure and the passion. It's not overly softened up to be 'couples porn' but it's not so in your face to turn off viewers who may be newer to watching porn. The kind of sex in The Friend Zone is simply good sex, and that's just universal. Sex scenes run about 15-20 mins, which is just long enough to get in some really good action but not so long that they feel like they drag on. I like Lexi Bloom and so it was great to see two scenes with her. Her scene with Danny Mountain is MUCH better than Giovanni Francesco who is really the only weak element of the film. The film really builds to the scene with Anthony Rosano and Riley Reid which feels so genuine and real that it delivers a strong pay off for all the non-sex narrative of the film.
Eddie Powell does a superb job shooting and editing this film. The non-sex work is fantastic and his sex scenes flow so well. Eddie understands where to put the focus and the editing is absolutely seamless and keeps the action moving. My only gripe about the film is Giovanni Francesco who seemed to sleep walk through the film. But it's a small gripe in an otherwise superb film and Lexi Bloom helps make up for Giovanni's dull performance.
The extras aren't massive but the Behind The Scenes is really well done and the interview with Xander is really really good. He's got some fantastic advice for couples about sex which is absolutely worth watching.
Put simply, The Friend Zone is great adult entertainment. It doesn't just have great sex it's got a great story told well that's on par with many mainstream rom-coms worthy of our top rating: XCritic Pick.