In 10 Words or Less
Every teen boy's dreams come to video life
Despite what some people might think, there's a definite line between Playboy and pornography, and there are people who don't wish to cross that line, for some reason. Admittedly, the women of Playboy tend to be many times more beautiful than those found in adult films and magazines, but there's also a sanitized, airbrushed feel to them that can get, for lack of a better word, boring. As a result, Playboy's gained something of a reputation as being behind the times, and their sales have suffered from it.
This DVD doesn't help change that view, with graphics and editing right out of a late '80s wedding video. Take a look at that title screen. That is state of the art stuff. But hey, at least the girls look good (and isn't that the most important part?) The DVD has a formula, with each girl getting a two-part segment. First up is a fun bit relating to the girl's personality, while the second part is more sensual and artsy. Some are downright beautiful, while others are simply overwrought.
The girl I looked forward to most was Krista Kelly, a proud Canadian girl, who goes all-Canuck in her personality part, playing hockey, portraying a Mountie and drinking beer. She wasn't hot enough to justify my interest in three seconds of hockey, but it wasn't bad. Much more impressive was the first Japanese Playmate, Hiromi Oshima. Though the accent on her voiceover is pretty funny, her full-figured body is no laughing matter. Fans of buxom Asians will find Hiromi a delight.
Though all the girls are good looking, two stood out the most. Luci Victoria, a big-chested Brit, gives a good show, especially in her "drama" set, where she's trying on outfits for a date. She's a very traditional Playboy beauty, with an hourglass figure and a very down-home quality to her. The sense of humor she shows is very sexy.
Luci's quite a looker, but 2004's Playmate of the Year, Carmella DeCesare, is the showstopper here, and is appropriately the final girl of the year. A curvaceous cutie, she projects that sense of pure sexuality that a Playmate should have. Her segments aren't as creative or impressive as the others, but just having her in it makes it great and a perfect climax for the DVD.
Unlike with many adult titles, there's nothing here that's likely to offend, though I have noticed the close-ups reveal more than they have in years past. It's not close to gynecological, but it's still to be considered. Overall, this is a very good collection of simply beautiful women, one that could make a good alternative for couples looking to watch something sexy, but not into porn.
On one DVD, you get the 80-minute full-screen main feature and a handful of bonus features. The main menu is animated and full-screen, with images of the Playmates, while the following screens are static. There are no captions or audio options, but there are scene selections, with video previews, that will take you to each girl. The disc arrives in a regular keepcase, with a 2-page insert featuring all 12 girls' centerfolds, and a wallet calendar with those 12 centerfolds (just smaller.) There's also a trial offer for Playboy.com.
Though Playboy videos tend to have a soft, dreamlike look to them, and this is no exception, this DVD looks great, with spot-on skintones (obviously an important factor for this disc) and very good detail. There were no obvious digital concerns, while dirt and grain were kept to a bare minimum. I looked to Krista Kelly's segment, with the bright red Canadian flag to see if there would be any color trouble, but there was no bleeding. As far as the audio goes, the Dolby stereo feed is good, but it's not like it was facing a challenge with the bland adult contemporary radio soundtrack and Playmate voiceovers.
There's a relatively robust selection of extras on this disc, starting with the full-screen "Playmate Calendar Retrospective, Volume 4." Taken from the 1993 release in this series, these segments are very much the same as those in the main feature, but they illustrate how much times, style and standards of beauty have changed in just 12 years, as these video pictorials can be labeled as "very 90s", while some are all but laughable. Playmates featured include the now mostly forgotten Corinna Harney, Angela Melini, Tylyn John, Cheryl Bachman, and Samantha Dorman, as well as one Vickie Smith, who later became the much-loved (and pitied) Anna Nicole Smith. It's an interesting 26 minutes for any self-respecting Playboy aficionado (or Anna Nicole fan.)
A photo gallery of 60 stills is a well-done extra, with two navigation options, manual and automatic. I've never been a fan of the slide-show, as I'd rather have control, so having the choice to flip through these pictures is very welcome. The manual is of a much higher quality, with full-frame pictures, while the slide-show uses smaller images with a DVD-themed background. The pictures seem to be the shots from their magazine layouts, and they are crystal clear with excellent color.
Less intriguing are the 12 Playmate Data Sheets, one for each model. These are the questionnaires that are found on the back of the centerfold in each issue, with personal info and three earlier photos of the Playmate. They might be worth a read, but the way they are presented, they scroll up the screen in the same format as the magazine, so it can be hard to read, unless you pause and step-forward, which is annoying. A "play all" feature is available.
One of the most extensive features I've seen is the Playmate Videographies database, a listing of every Playmate appearance on video, from 1982 to the present. This information can be accessed by year and by Playmate, with issue dates and video title. There's even information about whether the title is on DVD or if it's out of print. For a true fan, this is a tremendous resource. Oddly, there's no link back to the bonus menu, but there are trailers for five of these titles, "50 Years of Playmates," "Playboy's No Boys Allowed 2," "Video Centerfold: 2004 Playmate of the Year Carmella DeCesare," "Women of Wal-mart" and "Inside the Sexy Girls Next Door House." There's also a link on the disc for the Playboy website.
The Bottom Line
If you like to look at beautiful nude women, but don't want to see guys or hardcore action, Playboy's videos are as good an option as any. This disc presents 12 of the best-looking Playmates of the past two years, including 2004's Playmate of the Year, making it a great pick, all presented in excellent quality. Throw in some bonus video of a young Anna Nicole Smith, and this is a very good choice for Playboy fans.
Francis Rizzo III is a native Long Islander, where he works in academia. In his spare time, he enjoys watching hockey, writing and spending time with his wife, daughter and puppy.Check out 1106 - A Moment in Fictional Time or follow him on Twitter
*The Reviewer's Bias section is an attempt to help readers use the review to its best effect. By knowing where the reviewer's biases lie on the film's subject matter, one can read the review with the right mindset.