Virgil Films // 2008 // 99 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Brett Cullum // April 17th, 2009
2 girls hire 2 guys for 1 reason.
Donna (Amber Benson, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and Christi Ann (Kristen Kerr, Inland Empire) are successful women who respectively have managed to write screenplays and design clothing lines. They are women living the Los Angeles dream of being sexy and successful. The one thing missing from their lives is a relationship. The two attractive ladies run into a pair of unemployed construction workers at a swanky hotel bar, and they all share a night of unbridled lust. Apparently it was really good, because Joe (Johann Urb, The Hottie & the Nottie) and Stanny (Stevie Long, Pornstar) end up being hired by the pair to live in a tent by the pool to provide sexual release whenever the girls want or need it. The arrangement is only physical, but inevitably as time wears on love begins to bloom, complicating everything. Why can't "no strings attached" copulation ever work out in the movies? Doesn't anybody in this movie watch Sex and the City? Those girls already proved it is impossible for women to objectify the opposite sex like men do to them.
What is the world coming to when Amber Benson (Willow's true love Tara from Buffy) has to pay for sex? Obviously this bizarre scenario was written by a guy, and, ironically, said man is starring in the production (Stevie Long) and bedding Ms. Benson in the plot. Strictly Sexual is about as believable as seeing a Lord of the Rings movie as a documentary on New Zealand. Women like this paying someone a salary for sex is the stuff guys tell themselves can happen, but in the real world it simply doesn't fly. I suppose one can dream. And that encapsulates what is surprising about Strictly Sexual: it's a romantic comedy for guys by guys. The women act like male fantasies or nightmares. In the commentary the screenwriter admits he took all the fights he had with women and inserted them in to his screenplay. And so Strictly Sexual becomes one of those highly unlikely independent films where the situation is ludicrous while the self-conscious snappy dialogue is smarter than average. The Donna and Stanny characters have what appears to be contempt for the opposite sex, so they verbally spar constantly in between frantic lovemaking sessions. Meanwhile Joe has to melt frigid Christi Ann by being the nice guy willing to teach her how to be a good lover. The fact our foursome is extremely attractive and have some zippy lines saves the project.
On DVD Strictly Sexual fares well with Virgil Films doing a nice job with the package. In the sound and vision department we see what you'd expect with a low budget film made for $100,000. Things look okay even through a wash of grain, and colors appear well represented. A simple stereo sound mix gives the dialogue a solid push when it needs to. Where the real meat can be found is in the extras. A commentary is supplied with director Joel Viertel, star and screenwriter Stevie Long, costar Johann Urb, and composer Scott Salinas. There are a half dozen deleted scenes on the disc, and they are presented without any commentary. They are additional character beats and nothing drastic, but nice to see them here. The final feature is a photo gallery set to music which shows candid shots from the set mixed in with publicity pictures. We get the film presented well enough with a nice number of extras that examine the ins and outs of the production.
The film is cute enough, given it's simply a guy's fantasy realized on celluloid. A couple of girls hire some working stiffs to use as sexual toys, but end up having real feelings for them. It's interesting to see Amber Benson play a cranky power bitch who chain smokes and sleeps with guys; that's all rather unique given her television legacy as the sweet lesbian in love with with a witch. The rest of the cast are game for taking on a sexy romp with snappy dialogue. Strictly Sexual isn't a film that is going to change the world or what anybody thinks about the gender war. It merely cements the idea that men are from Mars and women are Venus, at least they are when they write screenplays for each other.
Guilty of being a guy's romantic comedy where two unemployed dudes end up as cabana boys for Hollywood power vixens. It's two girls paying two guys for something they could get easily for free.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Virgil Films
* 1.77:1 Non-Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 99 Minutes
Release Year: 2008
MPAA Rating: Rated R
* Deleted Scenes
* Photo Gallery
* Amber Benson Fan Site