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Marriage 2.0

Studio: Adam & Eve » Review by Don Houston » Review Date: 3/1/15

XCritic's Advice: Highly Recommended


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Marriage 2.0: A Modern Love Story

Adam & Eve/Lionreach

Genre: Erotica

Director: Paul Deeb

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Writer/Producer: Magnus Sullivan

Main Cast: India Summer, Nina Hartley, Ryan Driller, Dylan Ryan, Mickey Mod, Sadie Lune, Andre Shakti, Devi, Christian Wilde, Carol Queen

Additional Cast: Cacilda Jetha, Chris Ryan, Emily Morse, Marcia Baczynski, Reid Mihalko, Travis Lawrence, Chef Christopher Hubbard (all as themselves); Juniper Gold, Beretta James, Daisy Ducatti, Jack Hammer, Wolf Hollander, David Jacobs, Dottie Lux, Shredder, Francine Dead, Lisa from Gamelink, Francois Nabisco


Length: 124:19 minutes

Date of Production: 6/19/2014

Extras: Neither the online version nor the media screening disc had any extras though that is certainly subject to change as BTS footage was shot by beloved industry journalist Gram Ponante and Francois Nabisco, trailers exist, multiple versions of the movie exist, and a lot of biographies and stills exist.

Condoms: Some


Audio/Video Quality: Marriage 2.0: A Modern Love Story was presented in anamorphic widescreen as shot by director Paul Deeb for Adam & Eve as part of a new deal between the company and Gamelink. The Director of Photography was industry veteran Alex Ladd, second cameras by Paul Deeb and Chad Meridian while beloved journalist Gram Ponante and Francois Nabisco shot some BTS (used during the lengthy ending credits, perhaps more on an official DVD release). I watched the online version of the show first, testing my new computer and high speed cable internet connection by jacking up the resolution which really added some detail though like the standard definition DVD, there were some compression artifacts here and there. The online version did have a pronounced company watermark on the lower right hand corner of the screen at all times but the media version did not, frankly it did not matter to me much. The flesh tones were generally accurate and played well with the fine audio, various artistic touches added in at times with most of the sex shot in very close up manner (not my favorite method). The majority of sex was shot in non explicit ways but there was some there, a soft core version available for the squeamish but no one will mistake this for a low budget feature given the wealth of cast, establishing shots with the cast in them, and mainstream “feel” I adored about the production so much. The audio was presented in 2.0 Dolby Digital stereo using a sample rate of 48 Khz and a \n audio bitrate of 192 Kbps. The majority of the music for the show was composed by Paul Deeb, others contributing pieces too though his hand was omnipresent throughout the movie which really merited extra attention. Sound recording was by Freddy Fingers, no stranger to post production work in porn but also adding to the mix nicely, the vocals crisp and blended in well with the music and ambient sounds.


Company Synopsis: Wander the Internet or your neighborhood and it’s clear: throughout our culture, much of what was true 20 years ago is not necessarily the case now. Our relationships, romantic and otherwise, are in many ways beginning to reflect these new realities. Set against the vivid, natural beauty of Northern California and San Francisco, “Marriage 2.0″ follows a couple (India Summer and Ryan Driller) on their search for personal freedom, emotional and sexual bliss within the context of an honest and committed modern relationship. What makes “Marriage 2.0″ a different kind of relationship movie is its frankness; for all the pleasures of open relationships, jealousy and vulnerability do not magically disappear. This love letter to San Francisco — the cultural epicenter of the alternative relationship movement — suggests that the ideas of growth, novelty, and sexual adventure can exist within a millennial marriage. “Marriage 2.0″ tells a story both timely and universal. In the company of its diverse and storied cast including: Ryan Driller, India Summer, Andre Shakti, Mickey Mod, Sadie Lune, Dylan Ryan, Beretta James, Daisy Ducati, Christian Wilde, Juniper Gold and erotic cinema legend Nina Hartley; accompanied by many luminaries of the sex-positive community, including Carol Queen, Emily Morse, Reid Mihalko, and noted TED speaker and author of the NY Times best-seller “Sex At Dawn” Christopher Ryan, we are invited to celebrate a modern redefinition of the committed relationship – as a dynamic springboard for adventure, where unfettered physical and emotional intimacy can fuel our passion while strengthening the bond with those we love.


Body of Review: Paul Deeb is a mainstream director know best for his media production work and musical scoring, the multi-talented Renaissance man teaming up with Adam & Eve and Gamelink to make a different kind of porno, a flick released online the other day called Marriage 2.0: A Modern Love Story. Before I go too far into my comments, it should be noted that the “traditional” porno has a bulk of sex as the main ingredient, some features allowed a small amount of talking or less explicit material. Conversely, most Hollywood movies might have a small amount of nudity and simulated sex, often with body doubles, while the vast majority of footage consists of dialogue, exposition, and other non-sexual material. Production companies know full well that a movie made for theatrical release will be greatly limited if too sexual, contract covenants existing all across the country prohibited most truly adult material (unlike the “good old days” of the 70’s when most major cities had thriving porn theaters).


It almost goes without saying that Adam & Eve has long taken an interest in pushing mainstream boundaries in the past, the company sponsoring Candida Royalle for years as she made a respectable living directing story heavy movies that often hinted at sex or refused to follow traditional porn guidelines that demanded women get plastered in the face with male ejaculate after every conceivable circus act sex trick was deployed upon her. In that sense, those that find the ever increasing edge of premium cable television shows coming from HBO or Showtime served as the modern template for the movie, a title exploring modern marriages of an alternative sort rather than the often glossed over, watered down monogamy we see in our popular entertainment. For all the folks saying they would never cheat on a partner or find themselves bound to a societal approved relationship (which outside of Southern California and a few other places typically translates into a monogamous one male with one female arrangement), so many have tied sex to love and commitment to monogamy that anything different ends up as gossip fodder no matter how much people deny the statistical likelihood of sex outside of marriage taking place, openly or not.


What Marriage 2.0: A Modern Love Story does best is to explore these themes in an adult manner that includes sex but doesn’t focus on the pure mechanics of the sexual act as most features in porn would do. So yes, that makes this a “relationship movie” and those looking for a stroke fest of action are going to be as disappointed in this as the majority of mainstream audiences were with the abysmal Hollywood release of “50 Shades” a few weeks ago, but I think a lot of people will find Marriage 2.0 both entertaining and enjoyable in a way that we just don’t come to expect from a general porn feature OR a Hollywood movie, the middle ground perfect for direct VOD releases according to the knowledgeable people at Gamelink and A& E (I agree with them).


Casting of such an effort is of paramount importance so it was with some relief that I saw MILF of the Year India Summer as the wife trying to understand her husband’s desire for outside sex, ultimately trying out a series of sexual trysts herself in convincing manner. That award winning Ryan Driller portrayed her husband was icing on the cake but it should be noted that the sheer diversity of casting in both dialog roles and sexual encounters was well beyond what one would expect these days when piracy has greatly reduced profit margins and nearly every company tries to stay afloat by copying each other to find the so called “next big thing”.


There were some sly comedic moments to be had from time to time as well, anytime Nina Hartley appeared on screen I was just waiting for the next to appear, and the clips of Chris Ryan and Dr. Caclida Jetha discussing modern sexuality in historical context (the subject of India’s documentary) were informative as well as interesting even if I doubt any of my past significant others would hear them out long enough for me to get some love on the side. But there was lesbian action, straight penetrative sex, BDSM, a great handjob by India, and a range of group sex activities enough to arouse a viewer will the ideas soaked in, the close one listens to what is said the more satisfying your experience with the movie will likely be. I know “art porn” tends to be a very narrow audience and if some of the writing was a bit preachy at times, it worked in context given the situations the characters were placed in, so rather than outline specific sexual activity as a generic porn review requires, I’ll just stick to my roots of mainstream reviewing by suggesting open minded people watch this one and start a dialog together, you may come to an all new understanding about each other and start a new path of mutual understanding.


Episode One: Food For Thought: Following her morning run along the waterfront of the San Francisco Bay, India interviews TED Talk phenom and New York Times best selling authors of Sex At Dawn (Christopher Ryan PhD and Dr. Cacilda Jetha) about the non monogamous nature of human sexuality and its implications for the types of relationship models that are better aligned with our needs. India returns home to a slow-cooked meal, lovingly prepared by Eric (Ryan Driller). Against a score of pounding drums, India and Eric forget all about dinner in an intensely erotic tabletop tryst. Everyone's in for a surprise, however, when the heady ruminations of the day are unexpectedly punctuated by India and Eric's nosey but understanding neighbor, Ms Peters (Dr Carol Queen).


Episode Two: The Long Drive Home: India and Eric head north to Tomales Bay for a romantic retreat from the hustle of urban living. The serenity of the natural setting is a reflection of the deep bonds forged over the weekend. They make love to the sound of wind in the trees of Inverness. The fairytale ends, however, as India is brought face to face with her jealousy.


Episode Three: Mother Knows Best: India finds a tried and true advisor in her carefree, lusty mother (Nina Hartley), who reminds India that the greatest mistake in life is not trying. Meanwhile, Eric tries to convince his lover, Kara (Dylan Ryan), that everything's fine between him and India. Kara isn't comfortable with questions lingering and she helps Eric understand where boundaries are healthy.


Episode Four: Ladies Lunch and Modern Love: India challenges a regular morning running nemesis to a race, but then a Ladies' Lunch with her friends Athena (Andre Shakti) and Jenny (Devi) gets tense when they weigh the advantages of relationships versus casual sex. Athena presents Meghan and Edward (Sadie Lune and Mickey Mod in a sexy wedding reception flashback) as the new model for balancing loving commitment and sexual honesty. Athena invites India and Eric to Meghan's upcoming salon.


Episode Five: The Dinner Party: At Meghan's salon, India and Eric mingle with Bay Area sex-positive celebrities Emily Morse, Reid Mihalko, and Marcia Baczynski until Eric's lover, Kara, unexpectedly shows up. Kara, keeping Eric at bay, is smitten by the crushing looks and firm hands of Christian Wild and finds herself tied up and blindfolded in a well-appointed dungeon. Eric stumbles upon the two and, in a moment of ecstatic disorientation, Kara embraces Eric. Enter India. What she finds is the chasm between the theory and practice of non-monogamy.


Episode Six: This Is The Sea: India accuses Eric of violating a tenet of their agreement and kicks him out. Eric turns to Kara for sympathy while India asks hard questions and gets frank answers from friends. It takes a guided trip into uncharted terrain (and a sexy movie date) for India to gain new perspectives on the landscape she wants to inhabit.


Summary: Marriage 2.0: A Modern Love Story by director Paul Deeb for Adam & Eve & Gamelink was way off the beaten path but the material was well written and the acting by India Summer in particular was extremely strong. The movie had ample wit and insider nods to please those with greater knowledge of the lifestyle choices offered up as well as the erotic content so devoid from both porn and mainstream releases these days, the movie a home run for the partnership to promote Adam & Eve TV far better than press releases or sponsorships. The movie did not come across as written to please a corporate committee either, the twists and turns the characters went through showing their range of acting ability to earn a rating of Highly Recommended. I might not want to watch ten such movies a week but the technical values and work behind the camera helped make this a winner on multiple levels, so don’t think of Marriage 2.0: A Modern Love Story as a stroke flick so much as an engaging adult exploration of relationships you can appreciate with a partner, especially a partner you’d like to keep around.

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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