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Case Number 08852

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Total Romance: Initiation

Pathfinder // 2004 // 90 Minutes // Unrated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // March 18th, 2006

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All Rise...

Judge David Johnson thinks that DVD Verdict should follow the example set in this French nude-o-rama when initiating their new recruits.

The Charge

You're hired! These five blondes with the low-cut tops will escort you to your cubicle.

Opening Statement

Well, I'll give the French this much: they have great looking women.

Facts of the Case

Allow me to introduce you to a young man named Phillip (Alexander Linqvist). Phillip is a unique individual, a special man with a defining characteristic. Phillip, you see, is monstrously horny. Though he is married to a knockout brunette named Lilli, he remains unsatisfied. His libido is out of control, and he daily finds himself fantasizing about having sex with multiple women at the same time while on a boat.

When he's not indulging in rampant mind debauchery, he's hard at work honing his other skill: computer know-how. To prove his worth, he hacks the network of a powerful businessman named Jack (Benoit Clerc), in an attempt to wow the man with his expertise. Jack is pissed at first, but finds the young man talented and morally malleable.

So Jack brings Phillip on board, and tasks him with his first job: track down an employee who is up to no good within the organization and bring his findings back. Phillip is pumped to be given the chance and soon finds himself thrust into Jack's world of licentiousness and anonymous intercourse.

Suddenly the kid is drowning in fornication, and is forced to lie to Lilli to maintain his lifestyle. But little does he know he's being played, and the crap hits the fan when Jack's powerful and seductive wife makes a play that will give Phillip one more notch on the bedpost—and a whole world of potential hurt.

The Evidence

Total Romance: Initiation is the first installment of a series that you will likely find on your pay channel of choice. And trust me, you'll have to be tuning in late, late, late at night to track this flesh-fest down. A 90-minute erotic jaunt, imported from France, Initiation exists solely to titillate those willing with a bevy of smoldering Parisian females and their resistance to clothing or relational caution.

As such, and with most films of this caliber, the plot and story are way down on the list of filmmaking priorities. A mélange of clichés and incoherence, Initiation's storyline can be summed up like this: a good-looking guy finds himself in over his head when he starts working for a morally-challenged boss and comes to realize the value of his gorgeous and underappreciated wife and her willingness to get nekkid with strangers. Along the way he engages in enough boinking to rupture an internal organ. There are subplots here and there with side characters but no one cares. The End.. The plot is a skeletal framework on which to hang lots and lots of flesh.

Still, I'll hand it to the filmmakers: this flick looks great. The camerawork and lighting give it a professional look and the overall design pumps up the quality. Basically, it looks less like erotica and more like a full-fledged film. Unfortunately, the acting comes across as really cheesy because the English dubbing is so hokey. The hired hands used for the dubbing lack the grasp of the dramatic ebb and flow, and the resulting lines are tonally off. The original French track is available, but with no subtitles, there is no point. Of course, if you were to say there is no point to any dialogue at all in one of these movies, I would not contend that statement.

Picture quality is very good with a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. Colors are great (with a metrosexual sheen thinly laid about) and the all-important flesh tones are up to the demanding job. A 2.0 mix works the sound well. No extras.

Closing Statement

Initiation is not after an Academy Award for original screenplay. The story is largely nonsensical and exists only to usher one nude scene in after the other. Basically, lots of disrobed, attractive women (minus the otherworldy implants) cavorting around.

The Verdict

The accused is hosed down.

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Scales of Justice

Video: 90
Audio: 85
Extras: 0
Acting: 70
Story: 75
Judgment: 75

Perp Profile

Studio: Pathfinder
Video Formats:
• 1.85:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (French)
• None
Running Time: 90 Minutes
Release Year: 2004
MPAA Rating: Unrated
• Drama
• Erotic

Distinguishing Marks

• DVD Credits


• IMDb

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