|Written and Directed by: Helen Lesnick
What you get out of Inescapable depends entirely
upon your expectations going in. Despite knowing full well that
the film was being advertised merely as soft porn with a plot,
the fact that this film came from director/writer Helen Lesnick
(the writer/director/lead actress of A
Family Affair) in itself probably raised my expectations
way higher than they should have been. For instance, I actually
thought Lesnick had a reasonable grasp of dialogue. I thought
she knew how to light for the screen, and record sound, and keep
the camera from wobbling uncontrollably.
All this is just another way of saying I was totally unprepared
for just how bad this film would be. To all those people who complained
about the production values on Go
Fish, be warned. Inescapable makes
Go Fish look like The English Patient.
As for the story, the plot is quite simple, as one would expect
from soft porn. Jessie and Susan are a couple who travel to Oregon
so that Susan can attend a conference at her old University. While
there, they stay with another couple, Beth and Chloe. Susan and
Beth are old friends who are both attending the seminars, which
leaves Chloe and Jessie to their own devices for the long daylight
Pretty soon Jessie and Chloe find a way to spend their downtime.
After connecting at first glance (cue collective groans from the
audience) Jessie and Chloe waste no time in making their mutual
attraction known. The first tryst on the kitchen floor is reasonably
sexy, but the surrounding dialogue is just hideous to the point
where I would have been quite happy had the cinema's sound broken
down leaving us only with the visuals. This would have also solved
the problem of the annoying, tinny soundtrack where one (bad)
song was used repeatedly throughout the film.
Thus begins a lot of sex, interspersed with little scenes where
the couples hike, picnic, drink wine, play board games and eat
at restaurants, all with the intention of building tension but
which only succeed in making us want to strangle everyone involved,
right down to the last gaffer. I particularly wanted to take the
Susan character and slap the perkiness out of her. I have a theory
that it is actually excessive perkiness and not excessive screen
violence that produces the most violent reactions in audiences.
Go with me here.
Having seen the film surrounded by 500+ equally disappointed
and vaguely amused lesbians, I know for a fact that the only thing
that makes this film enjoyable is audience participation. So make
sure, if you're going to watch this movie at all, that you do
so in groups larger than five so that there's a variety of catcalling.
My favourite was a woman to my right answering the line "What
are we going to do?" with "Get counselling!" The
taunts of "get a scriptwriter!" and "kill me"
were also equally valid.
Jessie, who is the domineering one in the flirtation and in the
sex scenes, also has a jealous streak. She watches morosely as
Chloe talks happily to other women at a party and practically
drags her upstairs caveman-like to begin an ill-conceived sex
scene while the party is in full swing. (Note to director: when
people are having quickie, I'm-in-danger-of-being-caught
sex, they rarely remove every article of clothing they're wearing,
it makes explaining what is going on that bit more difficult if
they're caught.) Beth, who is a bit more clued in than perky-Susan,
looks for Chloe, oddly accompanied by creepy music that for a
moment made me think there would be a shower-scene stabbing involved.
Lo and behold though, the philanderers barely escape being caught.
Finally, after sex, sex and more sex, the angst starts to kick
in. Just when you think nothing can be worse than the lines they
use to seduce each other, then come the lines they use to try
breaking up. Chloe pushes for a continued relationship but Jessie
argues the futility of it and eventually breaks down into her
hilarious "but I'm not emotionally capable to sustain this
pressure" speech, which had the audience practically howling
in the aisles. I think it was all supposed to be sad, but when
a character says "this is going to end badly" in any
context other than escaping at light-speed from an intergalactic
space baddie, you just have to laugh, or leave.
It has to be possible to have a film that can combine both good
story and good sex. After all, the straight world does it, why
can't we? I do applaud Lesnick's intent - to produce erotica that
seems more in line with what your average lesbian would be likely
to experience in the bedroom. I did like the lack of rubber or
toys of any kind. I mean, it's about time someone showed a lesbian
erotic film where hands and mouths feature more than fake penises.
The film scores an additional half-star from me just for the shower
sex scene, which was the only time that the audience all shut
up at once.
My advice to potential audiences would be to lower your expectations
to absolute zero and be prepared to laugh at the bad sex. Better
yet, turn off the TV and go and have bad sex. It will still be
better than watching this movie. As a porn film Inescapable
is already pretty awful, but as regular entertainment it falls
hilariously flat. It's almost bad enough to be good, but remember,
you'll never get these eighty minutes back again.
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