Irresistible (1982)

Reluctant to revisit their explicit exploits to this day, the team in life as well as labor of Edwin and Summer Brown crafted several of the more successful attempts at the so-called "couples film", that mythical beast born to break down barriers between the sexes. The reality of most of these well-intentioned attempts was that, rather than satisfy male and female viewers alike, their frequently clueless approach ended up pleasing no one in particular. Part of the demographic themselves, the Browns proved an exception, producing a batch of increasingly impressive technical merit over the ten year period between 1975's China Girl and their 1986 Dreamgirls with a few early '90s efforts tagged on as a coda.  While most critics might be quick to single out Every Woman Has a Fantasy as their best overall achievement, I think Irresistible is at least its equal in every respect, mixing whimsical Walter Mitty type comedy fantasy with some exceptionally erotic sex scenes.

Less than successful travel agent Walter Brooks (superbly portrayed by Richard Pacheco, fresh from his triumph playing slow-witted Lenny to John Leslie's suave Jack in Sam Weston's Talk Dirty to Me and its in my humble opinion superlative sequel Nothing to Hide) finds himself stuck in a rut after 18 years of marriage to Arlene (Samantha Fox, who has rarely looked lovelier). On his way to work, he loses himself in carnal daydreaming about a cute hitchhiker (fan favorite Dorothy LeMay, perhaps the ultimate dirty movie ditz in flicks like Kirdy Stevens's original Taboo and its seriously warped sequel) but lacks the confidence to move beyond the fantasies. One day, an old codger calling himself Miracle Meyer (well acted by character actor Misha Garr, also popping up briefly in Brown's Every Woman Has a Fantasy II and Pacheco's excellent directorial debut Careful, He May Be Watching featuring what might very well qualify as Seka's career performance) turns up at Walter's place of business, promising him erotic fulfillment through time travel for a mere $ 10 ! Understandably somewhat apprehensive both about the offer and the sanity of the person making it, Walter decides to try it anyway and, lo and behold, turns up at the court of Queen Cleopatra (the appropriately ravishing Starr Wood, the hands-on riding instructor from Fred Lincoln's underrated Same Time Every Year). After making beautiful love to the royal, he rather foolishly decides to alter the course of history by informing her of her impending fate, spooking her to the extent she has her guards incarcerate him. Fortunately, Meyer can whisk him back to the present day in a flash.

That night at dinner, Arlene can't understand why her husband, who had been so listless of late, is in such a good mood all of a sudden, even with her mother visiting and fish – which he doesn't like – on the menu ! This makes for a wonderful little sequence that really brings out the character subtleties that Fox and Pacheco – talented thespians both – are capable of. Medieval Verona and Romeo's Juliet (a supremely slutty Gayle Sterling, star of Lawrence T. Cole's appropriately titled Nasty) are next with Walter deflowering Shakespeare's (fictional, but don't let that spoil your fun) heroine and inadvertently taking her back as she holds on a little too tight when her miffed Montague man catches them in flagrante. Until Meyer figures out a way to send her back, Walter decides to keep her stashed at the No Tell Motel on Eddy Street where she wears him out sexually, albeit with a little help from her friends in an award-winning orgy scene involving Gina Gianetti ("Cassie Blake" from Bill Milling's original All American Girls), Mai Lin, Billy Dee and Lynn Francis, a performer who worked well into the '90s. Mata Hari (sultry Nicole Noir, always a class act, resplendent in stockings and garters) is the subsequent historical hussy Meyer has lined up, but Walter has finally seen the light and requests to be returned permanently to 1964, the year he married Arlene. Their blissful wedding night lovemaking provides the perfect capper to this charming concoction, proving in the process that heart doesn't need to exclude heat and vice versa.

There's not a single aspect of Irresistible that is not handled with the utmost professionalism. As I have already waxed lyrically about the cuteness of the storyline and the high quality acting of all involved, let me just add that Teru Hayashi's polished cinematography and intricate lighting techniques really bring out the beauty of performers who have never looked this eye-popping elsewhere (especially Fox, her lustrous locks a fetching shade of strawberry blond) and that Terrance O'Reilly's editing effectively keeps up the pace for what was after all an above average length for an adult film at the time. But hey, then I even like the typically schmaltzy ballad (a male/female duet, no less) that accompanies the true love conquers all ending ! In parting, I realize it would be a total cliché to state that Irresistible lives up to its title, and then some, but as I have run out of other things to say by now, it will just have to do !

Directed by Edwin Brown. Written by Edwin & Summer Brown (as Sandra Winters). Produced by Summer Brown (as Sandra Winters) for Essex Pictures. Photographed by Teru Hayashi. Music by Don Peake (as Geoffrey Pekofsky). Edited by Terrance O'Reilly. Starring Richard Pacheco (Walter Brooks), Samantha Fox (Arlene Brooks), Misha Garr (Miracle Meyer), Starr Wood (Cleopatra), Gayle Sterling (Juliet), Dorothy LeMay (Hitchhiker), Nicole Noir (Mata Hari), Gina Gianetti (Sunshine), Shu Garr (Mother in Law), Mai Lin, Lynn Francis & Billy Dee (Motel Orgy Group). Running time : 104 minutes.

Samantha Fox (shown here with Gloria Leonard in Chuck Vincent's Roommates) will tug your heartstrings as Richard Pacheco's taken for granted spouse. Anything else you'll have to tug yourself !