Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Bedtime Stories

bedtimestories-cover

Asia Agcaoili is by now the rice meal of straight-to-video erotica. She's staple, they keep serving her, and looks like she'll be around forever. She's Viva Video's most trusted star. In the new release Bedtime Stories, she opens as a radio jockey who tells tales of sex, supposedly lifted from the experiences of Asia Agcaoili the real life person. At under an hour, the video is essentially a string of re-enactments of those experiences, starring Asia herself.

Sounds like it's for straight men? I thought so too. I almost didn't pick it up from the video shelf. Just look at it. The back cover is worse, with thumbnails of women, and nary a man in sight. But it's gayer on the inside.

Those re-enactments? Asia does it with one man after another, starring hot guys, mostly men from Provoq, last year's gay video sensation also from Viva. Four of the six stories are properly labeled as a specific masculine type, such as "the jock" or "the neighbor". It's a gay fantasy, if not a female one. I doubt many straight men would be interested in such a premise -- or, quite frankly, in Asia Agcaoili, whose body parts they've probably seen too often to be of much excitement.

The men here do more of the same. Chester Nolledo sticks his hand inside his undies again. Justin De Leon bares his rear. The only frame I found pause-worthy was the adorable facial reaction of Josh Ivan Morales during premature ejaculation. I fast-forwarded through the lesbian scene. The sex party was a waste of set-up. Johnron Tanada and John Miller seemed game enough as lust participants, but the camera hardly focuses on them. The "boyfriend" story with Paolo Paraiso, featuring sex on the swing, is the cutest one perhaps because it's not as common a scenario as the others, and it has a somewhat cute ending.

The stories are almost non-stories. I imagine Asia walking into a story meeting to say she's done this and that sexual experience, but not really recounting the luscious detail or even the actual thrill. It's as if she bragged then got lazy to support her claims. Veteran director Neil Daza and veteran writer Benedict Migue drive these "confessions" down a pit of lameness. If their storytelling were any more by-the-numbers, it would be a math quiz. Erotica is not easy. There's a hidden narrative in the build-up of tease and tension, and perhaps even in the careful construction of character, and of course a fetishistic attention to detail and mood. Bedtime Stories -- even with a run-of-the-mill tabloid premise -- really should have tingled better. But I guess that goes to say for many of the erotica to come out these days.

On the back of the DVD is a tiny white sticker that covers the blurb that says there are special features. I wonder if the videogram regulatory board had anything to do with the exclusion of a "safer sex featurette" and "behind the scenes footage". Should've been interesting. The end credits lists other names such as Raymond Lim and Gabs Del Rosario, but they're hardly visible in the video, if at all. Were they cast merely as background talents? Or were they too pulled out at the last minute? All this made for a viewing that left me shortchanged.

GRADE: C-

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