Retro Porn Review – Roommates

November 12, 2015
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While the landscape of adult cinema was changing rapidly in 1981, moving towards cheaper options and the more graphic and less plot-oriented 80s, Chuck Vincent’s Roommates stands out as one of those extremely rare porn films that were richer in its plot, acting and cinematography than its sex scenes. So much, that at the time an edited version without the hardcore parts was shown in mainstream theaters with an R rating.

The movie focuses on three young women who move in together into an apartment in New York City. Billie (Samantha Fox), a former high class prostitute looking to leave her old life behind, is trying to pay the bills with a straight yet significantly less remunerated production assistant job, so she rents two rooms to afford the pad she’s gotten accustomed to. While both of her new roommates are in the entertainment business, they couldn’t be more different: Joan (Veronica Hart) is a small town aspiring actress that moves to New York with Broadway dreams; while Sherry (Kelly Nichols) is a model from L.A. with a drug/men problem that’s always on the verge of leading somewhere tragic. The one thing they do seem to have in common is an inability to escape their pasts, and more specifically, the men that have used them and broken them in their misguided search for love.

Retro Porn Review - Roommates

All three girls do a wonderful job, especially Veronica Hart as the naïve and sometimes-neurotic Joan. In fact, not only the three female leads; I’d say collectively, this is arguably the best-acted feature porn movie of its time. The cast was superb. Jamie Gillis proves once again why he was the best actor in the porn world, playing a manically bipolar love interest for Sherry that proves far too dangerous yet on a sadly familiar territory for her. Jerry Butler gets to play perhaps the most nuanced gay dude I’ve seen in an era that loved to turn gay characters into cartoons. Even Ron Jeremy surprised in his part, as a clearly shy Jewish boy that he might have been a very long time ago; premature ejaculation included. They all have mostly very good chemistry. You don’t get the feeling these people just arrived on the set half-assing it.

While the main cast is presented as a group of young women striving for independence in New York City, all of them go through some kind of episode of sexual abuse that is in some way “tolerated.” In fact, the movie’s only downside for me is that most of the sex scenes can be quite awkward because they don’t feel fully consensual, but that’s completely the intention, to show the real struggles that these girls – and to be fair, many others at the time – were going through, and it reflects how engrained certain patterns were (and still are) for women who are trying to overcome their past ghosts.

http://youtu.be/0TUdffApTao

The movie has a heart, for sure, which is hardly ever said for an adult film. It might be the closest thing to a chick flick I’ve ever seen in porn, and yet sometimes it’s not easy to watch if you have a feminist (or simply human) sensibility.

Roommates is a well-shot movie, with a very solid plot, pretty good acting all around and a lot of attention to detail. Sure, the sex scenes kind of take a second place, but that doesn’t mean they’re all bad, just that the context they’re in doesn’t allow them to stand out as you’d expect from a hot porn flick. Regardless, this is undoubtedly one of the best adult films of all time.

Retro Porn Review – Roommates 3 votes

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