|Jenna Jameson Is The Masseuse (2004)|
14 years ago, Paul Thomas turned over a new leaf as a director: After a bunch of unremarkable shot-on-video features, he began to put together a string of critically acclaimed features, including 1990's The Masseuse. This story of a shy male virgin and an experienced masseuse spawned two more sequels--and now a third, this time starring Jenna Jameson in the title role.
Justin Sterling plays an awkward, middle-aged virgin, who fancies internet porn, ties himself up for kicks, and maintains a shed full of BDSM gear. Despite that, he shuns the advances of one of his willing co-workers (Wendy Divine) and instead goes to an upscale massage parlor looking to get some personal service. His masseuse, Jenna, agrees to shave his pubes, and then he confesses that he's a virgin. Partly because of pity and partly because of a $40 tip she gives him a handjob (incidentally the best scene of the movie).
Obviously, Justin starts to get obsessed with his masseuse...all but ignoring his co-worker, who even goes as far as playing with herself in front of him to attract his attention. Justin visits Jenna again, and she gives him a blowjob for an even bigger tip. She agrees to continue the strictly professional arrangement at his pad, where she agrees to get rope-bound, spanked, blindfolded, and probed. Still, he doesn't make it to home plate, although Jenna does take his jizz on the chin and in her mouth (even blowing some bubbles).
At their next encounter, Jenna has him tie himself up while she and a girlfriend (Savanna Samson) take a strap-on to each other in front of Justin. Despite Jenna's insistence that they keep things simple and unattached, he inevitably becomes obsessed with her to the point of finding out where she lives and showing up on her doorstep. Outraged by his stalking, Jenna shows up to confront Justin, but instead inexplicably ends up fucking him in the film's final sex scene. Funny, I think I would have responded with a restraining order...
After watching the first 30 minutes of the movie, I was about ready to declare Jenna Jameson Is The Masseuse as a worthy successor to Paul Thomas' earlier works. The acting in the first few acts is very good, and the sex--thanks to real-life connection of the two main characters--is convincingly real. And the slightly non-linear editing (flashing to events in the future for a few seconds) grabs your attention. But the addition of Wendy and Evan comes across as the optional plot and sex accessories they are. Even the girl-girl scene between Jenna and Savanna, while necessary to the plot, doesn't feel "in character." I prefer the original film's revolutionary concept of using a single couple (Hyapatia Lee and Randy Spears) for all of the sex (judge for yourself...Vivid has included a bonus DVD with the original 1990 movie).
As the movie wears on, the plot, acting, and sex slips. What starts out as a pretty intelligent script degenerates into the predictable stalker plotline and the typical contrived excuses to show bumping pelvises. By the time the credits rolled, my opinion went from a must-see to a rent me. Jenna is the singular reason you'd want to see this movie, unless you're into the whole "nerd gets fucked by a beautiful girl he'd never get in real life" theme.
Note: I dropped the overall score of the DVD by a half-star because of the mandatory ads that play on insert. We're not talking about a little promo either, but six minutes, 15 seconds worth of ads for phone sex, herbal enlargement pills, Vivid's web site, Vivid's toy line, and a Vivid Interactive DVD intro trailer. 6:15 that you can't skip to the main menu, can't skip to other titles, and can't skip to the next ad. The only thing you can do is fast forward through this crap--every time you insert the disc. Major pet peeve material.
In the end, despite the disappointments, it is nice to see that Paul Thomas hasn't completely lost his touch in creating fairly watchable couples porn. I don't think it's so much that he's slipped as other directors are now capable and willing to produce more than your lame kissy love story pornos. I'm also happy that despite the fame and fortune that Jenna has amassed, Jenna Jameson Is The Masseuse isn't a prima donna project, but actually a decent body of acting and sex on her part. And finally, it's one of the few Vivid movies in many years that I think actually deserves the nominations that it surely will get come awards season.