PARTY DOLL is the first of dozens of latter-day Joe Sarno shot-on-video features that I've enjoyed watching. Despite its obvious shortcomings, for once the cast and premise unite in a sexy romp.
Ron Jeremy is ideally cast as a porn shop clerk, begrudgingly hawking butt plugs and dildos to his customers, who falls in love with the blowup sex doll sitting on a chair for sale. This simple setup results in quality (if overlong, as usual) sex scenes and a fun spirit that is poles apart from the tedious, mechanical sex of these Sarno 1-day wonders.
The doll comes to life in the form of Cara Lott, whose Kewpie doll looks perfectly fit the role; I couldn't think of another actress then (or now) who would be more appropriate. For most of the video only Ron imagines her as the doll, leading to comical embarrassments as his employer (meanie Seymour Love, often popping up in these videos in brief, non-sex parts) or others catch him shtupping the inflatable doll.
The fact that Jeremy can horse around with nearly a straight face (he's always somewhat tongue-in-cheek on screen) puts across the farcical goings-on. Open ending (after a threesome with Lott and Firestone) has Ron waxing autobiographical in character, when he murmurs "Two beautiful ladies; I can go on doing this forever".
Jeremy had previously done a classic scene in the 1982 film DESIRE, in which he fantasizes making love to a store mannequin, which comes to life in the form of Misty Dawn -this video continues his saga to prove that he is WAY more effective in that vein than Ryan Gosling's overrated and wimpy turn in LARS AND THE REAL GIRL.
Besides Lott, Melissa Melendez and Alexis Firestone are also sexy presences, while Damian Cashmere shares the woodsman load with Jeremy.
Sarno made this under a pseudonym "Leif Knullar", perhaps a nod to his successful Scandinavian career in the '60s and '70s, but the companion Knullar feature also starring Jeremy & Cashmere titled CRITICAL POSITIONS is terrible.
Trademark Sarno-isms include a telltale après-sex scene where Jeremy and Firestone open the shot by sliding vertically into the frame together, a theatrical trope Sarno often used during his softcore filmmaking heyday. Downsides include the use of the same distinctive bed (and set) for every sex scene, making locations non-credible (everybody hightails it to the same apartment to have sex, defying logic), plus his typical random "wandering down a NYC street" transition footage to break up the harshly-lit, claustrophobic interior scenes.
The porn store is especially cheaply decorated, typical of the carelessness of these videos, all of which share the same lousy rock instrumentals soundtrack.
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