Cast: Raylene, Shelbee Myne, Venus, Dayton Rain, Taylor St. Claire, Paige Sinclair, Tony Tedeschi, Randy Spears, Jason McCain and T.J. Cummings in sex roles; Adajja, Frank Bukwyd and Clark Irving in non-sex roles.
Director: David Stanley
Production date: 11/28/00 (box); 1/23/02 (opening statement)
Length: 78 min.
Extras: Fetish menu, multiple angles, six bonus scenes (menu displays only four), four trailers and a slide show with 20 photos.
Audio/visual quality: The movie is shot on film with all its attendant hazards. Grain and white speckles are noticeably present. There are occasional problems with darkened corners, bleached colors and soft focus, as well. Otherwise, the visual quality has a solidly average feel.
Some of the music is dissonant electronica that sounds like it was rescued from a 90's porn vault. The remainder isn't so bad, although it's often in a dismal minor chord and tends to change rather haphazardly midscene. Oddly, there's also a beautiful classical piece—the ironically named "Air on a G String" from Bach's Orchestral Suite 3. The balance between the music and the sex sounds is good.
False advertising: Everything about the box suggests that this DVD is fun and fluffy. The bright Crayola yellow and green colors, a smiling Raylene in her wedding finery, the inviting cover text...there's no warning whatsoever that this movie is actually a sick little porn noir that includes images of rectal bleeding and autoerotic asphyxia. I was in a chipper mood before starting this disc, and I was royally crabby by the time it was done.
Disc problems: Menu navigation is confusing. Some text is "clickable," and other text is not. Often the active areas are hidden off to the side of the text (sometimes to the left and sometimes to the right), almost like unintentional Easter eggs. Two bonus scenes are not even listed in the menu, and another bonus scene skips a track in the middle. My player's "remaining time" clock reads incorrectly for most of the bonus scenes. In general, the authoring on this DVD is disappointingly shoddy.
First impression: The plot offends me, and the sex bores me. I'll try to provide enough objective information, though, that everyone can decide for themselves.
Scene highlights: Raylene ("Norma"), an ambivalent bride-to-be, stops by her local bakery to order a wedding cake. Baker Tony Tedeschi ("Lloyd") gives her some heart-to-heart advice and also the inside scoop on his patrons' sex lives.
In the first scene, Jason McCain ("Albert") awakens the sleeping Raylene by rudely thrusting his fingers into her ass (which is implied, not directly shown). Her face contorts in an expression of pain and shock. Raylene gives her fiancé a much nicer blowjob than he deserves, followed by vaginal intercourse in two positions, anal intercourse in the prone position and a cumshot to her butt. Raylene moans and screams enthusiastically during the coitus, yet the sex still seems rather mechanical (which might make sense, since the characters don't actually love each other). Afterwards, she sits on the toilet and wipes back-to-front, displaying the bloodied tissue to the camera.
Tony's first customer of the day, Venus ("Lilly"), purchases prune and raisin bran muffins. Venus is a rising porn star who specializes in farting and shitting on cue, and she's preparing for a scene with Dayton. The two women lick each other's pussies, and Venus receives Dayton's strap-on in missionary and anal doggie. Neither actress climaxes. I admit that there's some humor in this scene, but it's not due to the overdubbed sounds of flatulence. What's funny is that the camera crew practically faints from the stench, but Dayton keeps cheerfully pumping away, completely oblivious even though her nose is only a few feet from the source. Afterwards, Venus suffers a nervous breakdown in her kitchen, surrounded by her beans, laxatives, diapers and enema equipment.
The next patron, Randy Spears ("Sam"), is mentally impaired. But once upon a time, he was a pimp "ten times shinier than a peacock" and very much in love with Taylor St. Claire ("Darlene"). She masturbates in his shadowy living room, beneath the creepy sex dolls suspended from the ceiling. Randy briefly skull-fucks her and then provides a little oral warm-up. The missionary and doggie action eventually lead to a footjob, with Randy dropping his load on the tops of Taylor's feet. Next thing we know, Taylor's body is hanging with the dolls in an apparently accidental death from autoerotic asphyxia. Randy goes mad from the trauma.
A fantasy sequence illustrates Tony's point that chocolate is the food of love. T.J. Cummings dribbles chocolate syrup over Paige Sinclair's nude body, caresses her breast with his chocolate-covered hand and sensuously licks her buttock. Tony explains that people used to fuck on chocolate for hours, so I'm not sure what happened to this scene. Maybe a poor decision occurred in the editing bay, or there were wood problems on set (we never do see T.J.'s erect member). Anyhow, the scene ends with a kiss and no intercourse.
Tony is a widower, and he recalls how Shelbee Myne ("Melora") provided some stress relief right before their wedding ceremony. The scene starts off quite good, with playful banter and tender kisses. Shelbee wears her gown and veil from start to finish. The sex loses much of its romantic appeal, though, when we see her feet flopping around in dirty white tennis socks. Tony ejaculates on Shelbee's breasts after a blowjob. They must get kicked out of the church, because they somehow end up exchanging rings outside. Then, in a scenario straight from the guide 101 Easy Ways to Eliminate a Character from Your Script, Shelbee simply collapses to the pavement and dies, no further discussion necessary.
"The point is, everybody gets fucked by sex and love," Tony concludes. "At the end of the day, there's only one voice you have to answer to, and that's yours." You'd think that would convince Raylene to dump her loser boyfriend and try to make it on her own, but suddenly she's in bed with her new husband Randy (who appears to have made a remarkable recovery). I like this scene better than the others, possibly because it concludes on a happy note. The action is fairly standard—oral, blowjob, missionary and doggie—but a titfuck rounds it off, with Randy climaxing on Raylene's breasts. Her moans seem more authentic here than in the first scene, maybe because of the appreciative way she looks into his face.
The bonus scenes average 13 minutes in length and range from mediocre to pretty good. The first four come from Peckers (Raylene and Ian Daniels), Sex in the Second Realm (Raylene and Lola), Black Room (Shelbee Myne and Dale DaBone) and Portraits in Blue (Taylor St. Claire, Dillon Day and Eric Masterson). Dayton Rain also appears in a misidentified scene with Michael J. Cox (the source is given as Delusional), and she has an unidentified three-way Eric Masterson and a guy I haven't seen before. I like the energetic Portraits in Blue scene, especially when Taylor rips off her blindfold after getting an unexpected poke in the pussy. The Dayton/Michael scene includes several nicely synchronized positions in which the two partners do an equal amount of work.
Thumbs up: The performers are reasonably attractive, and no one sounds like they're reading their lines cold. Even Tony looks good, and he and Raylene carry their dialog well. Randy lightens his lines with skillful comedic timing and mannerisms. I'll probably still find Randy attractive when he's 90; he's just so sweet and engaging when he purrs, "Mmmm, yeah...make love to that dick."
Thumbs down: Let's see—two of the female characters die after sex, one bleeds out of her rectum and eventually marries an ex-pimp, another ends up in tears and one gets a kiss instead of an orgasm. Great story, guys. Gee, if you really have that big of a problem with female sexuality, maybe you should just stone the ladies to death during the opening credits and save us the misery.
There's no option to turn off the obnoxious multiple angles icon, which is bright white and highly distracting. The font is also heavily aliased (i.e., the edges of the letters are jagged), which makes it look extremely tacky. The icon appears in all five of the complete scenes.
Themes: Straight, lesbian, masturbation, oral, anal, toys (strap-on, dildo), footjob, titfuck.
Condom use: Yes, for all vaginal and anal penetrations.
Final analysis: I know two fans of Raylene who watched Sweet Things and liked it better than me. I can't agree with their assessment, but if this movie had included the sex scenes only and no plot, I might have been tempted to raise the rating to 2.5 stars ("average"). As it stands, it's a rather mean-spirited and inchoate movie, with dialog that explains too much while somehow also not explaining enough.