IMDb-ers undervalue the sincere story porn of yesteryear, as witness this fine collaboration by Brad Armstrong with the great Stephanie Swift, in a league with their earlier slice of life "Knockout". This one is an unusually well-made musical, featuring quality song performances by both porno and mainstream talent.
Fitting well with the Americana strain of Brad's best work, including "Crossroads" (also starring Swift), it tells the familiar tale of a small-town girl heading to the big city to fulfill her dream of a Show BIz career. The travails of Stephanie as Cindy Blue are rather cornball, but her empathetic performance and the measured mix of sex and song make this a winner.
She gets stage fright at a contest night, but manages to get a waitress job from stereotypical sleazy club owner Herschel Savage. The other girls working at the place develop interesting characters of their own: manager Sydnee Steele and B-girls Devon Michaels, Lola and Nicole Sheridan, quite an impressive line-up of talent. Add to this in various sex scenes Nikita Denise, Lezley Zen and Aria and Brad has a can't miss sexual component.
He was also wise to seek out mainstreamers, with fine songs and accompaniment by writer/singer/guitarist Phil Phillips, plus a genuine singer who doubled as coach for the other girls, Sharyn Scott. For once, the songs are good enough to surmount their porno setting, and are professionally staged and recorded.
I used to see many a B-movie (usually R rated) in this genre back in the '70s and '80s, often drive-in fodder, but this XXX-version is much better in every way, a pleasant surprise buried in the Wicked catalog. Rule of thumb: you can't go wrong with a Swift movie, but stick to Brad's littlest productions and avoid both his over-produced "blockbusters" and at the other end of the spectrum his all-sex junkers.
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