Impulse is a straight-to-video erotic thriller and, granting the
inherent limitations implied by that description, a pretty good one.
The premise lacks credibility, but once one accepts it, the story is
interesting and plays out with a lot of guilty pleasures.
Claire (singer Willa Ford in her first lead role) is a beautiful,
highly successful businesswoman married to a psychiatrist who dearly
loves her. She loves him too, but she just wishes he could be less
guarded, more open with his emotions and passions. One night she
returns from a business trip costumed as an Italian prostitute, hoping
to stimulate him into ardor, but he acts like a cold fish. He
confesses that he should have played along, should have turned himself
into the studly Roberto, and vanquished her, but he just has a hard
time acting on his fantasies. He says he will work on it and perhaps
he will turn into Roberto in the future.
On her next business trip she sits in the lounge of a swanky hotel
and sees her husband dressed in a white suit and hat, wearing a long
silk scarf. It's the long-awaited Roberto! They have a night of crazy passion, then
another when she tells him precisely when she'll be free on her on her
next business trip. After that second night, she wakes up to a phone
call from her husband which seems very thoughtful - and then she looks
in the bed next to her and sees her husband sleeping.
She's just cheated on her husband with a stranger who happens to
look like him.
You see what I mean about the implausibility of the premise? It's
an intriguing idea for a movie, but there's no hint that the stranger
is a long-lost twin or anything like that, so we are asked to believe
that she can't tell the difference between two completely unrelated
men. There's nothing in their kiss, their smell, their taste, their
teeth ... nothing. They are both pudgy and out of shape. They both
have the same exact voice and mannerisms. They have different
haircuts, but the plot explains that. (Before the first business trip,
she told him to start going to a stylist instead of Supercuts, so she
was not surprised to see him with a different look.) Bottom line: she
simply can't tell that she made love with a second guy.
Well, forget about whether that's believable or not. You just have
to accept it. Now consider the possibilities for mayhem. After the
phone call from her real husband, she summarily dismisses the stranger
from her hotel room without an explanation. Unsurprisingly, the poor
guy would like to know just what the hell he did wrong. A few minutes
earlier she had been telling him how much she loved him. He just had the
two greatest nights of his life, and then had the new love of his life
suddenly wake him up and kick him out of the room with a warning never
to call her again. Remember, he did nothing to deceive her. She was
the one who insisted he was the fantasy creation known as Roberto, and
he just played along. He just doesn't want the good times to end. When you
combine what has just happened to him with the fact that he was a
little squirrelly to begin with, you get the beginnings of a serious
obsession. Eventually the stranger conceives a plan to switch
identities with the husband, and things start to get really crazy.
I won't spoil it for you because the plot has some pretty good
twists, although none of them will seem wildly original or unexpected
to you genre aficionados. Despite the predictable resolution, I was
content to let the film carry me along until the last minute or so,
which includes a preposterous and confusing epilogue.
Angus MacFadyen, who came close to being a star a few years back,
does a pretty good job in a dual role as the stable husband and the stranger
who deteriorates into psychosis. Remember that he had to play two men
that his own wife couldn't tell apart, so he had to be quite subtle in
distinguishing them. Willa Ford does a good job removing her clothing
several times and showing off a world-class body. Other women provide
some impressive additional nudity here and there. In general,
excluding the disappointing and cheesy epilogue, it's a pretty good
little "guilty pleasure" movie.