Illicit Lovers from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

From the sublime to the ridiculous. Illicit Lovers is a new release, but not my kind of movie. It's a Skinemax kind of thing.

So let me evaluate it according to genre standards, and not by my usual criteria.

1. How good is the sex? Not very good at all. One star out of four Two reasons: (1) No pubes, very little below the waist. One of the most inexplicit softcore movies in my experience. (2) The women are not spectacular at all.

2. How good is the writing? Very good -four stars by genre standards. It compares with I Like To Play Games and the very best softcores. With a real cast and some script polishing, it is not a bad premise for a real movie. Guy gets laid off. His wife doesn't want to go to a party that night, because she fears humiliation. So her best friend asks to rent the husband. She agrees. That eventually leads to a wide range of activities for the husband, since he can't find a real job. All of the characters are written with realism - the husband at first thinks it's a way to get paid for living his fantasies, but then he realizes that it is exhausting and tense work, especially when he starts to "entertain" strangers. He fears he'll get emotionally involved eventually. He really loves his wife, and wants her to stop being so greedy about the money she's making from renting him out. They have to figure a way out of the trap that is making them successful in business, but is completely screwing up their lives.

3. How good is the photography? Competent. Three stars. No great imagination involved, but the basics are solid. The scenes are clear, the lighting is good, the colors are vivid.

4. How good is the acting? I guess barely adequate. Not good enough to make you think it's a real movie, but not unusually bad by genre standards. Nobody really stands out, although the kid who plays the husband shows some raw, if unpolished, potential. About two and a half stars, I suppose.

IMDB summary: 5.1 out of 10. That's bad for a real movie, but pretty good by genre standards. It is unlikely that a softcore will score much above 6. I think that "I Like to Play Games" is probably the Citizen Kane of this genre, and that is rated 6.0 at IMDb. So don't think of it as 50% of Shawshank. Think of it as 85% of "... Games". I just can't recommend an erotic movie that isn't erotic enough, but I would have liked the movie if the sex scenes were better.

It was made for cable, and is not even in general video release. It is available only at Blockbuster and only for rental. Surprisingly, it is available on DVD as well as the usual video. (Most Blockbuster exclusives have been on VHS only)

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