Mango Kiss, a campy, romantic lesbian sex comedy, does what few lesbian films do—it celebrates lesbian sexuality with humor.
Mango Kiss is probably the most fun you're going to have learning about role-playing in the lesbian community. Two friends, lipstickish Sass (Danièle Ferraro), and her butchier buddy Lou (Michelle Wolff), become roommates in San Francisco, where Sass is making a career as a performance artist. Problem is, Lou, our narrator, is in love with Sass. It isn't long before she admits it to Sass. And Sass is more than willing to be her lover. But there are so many temptations in San Fran, and soon, the couple gets involved with a whole group of sex-hungry lesbians. And what a cast of S&M lesbians it is. There's Chelsea, the sexpot black bitch mommy of the gang. Mickey, the rough and tough punk rock band member who loves to get spanked. And there's the innocent next door neighbor Leslie, who becomes fast friends with Sass—but wants Lou to be her daddy.
And so begins the trouble. Sass gets drawn into the idea of having an open relationship. Lou, who is madly in love with her, goes along with it, mostly to make her happy. But there's one agreement. In their relationship, Lou is the daddy, and Sass is her princess. So neither can find a second person to play the same role. Sass starts off fine, exploring a role as mommy to the butchy Mickey, who is her little boy who just needs a good spanking. Sass's mother (played by Sally Kirkland!), warns Sass that maybe Lou is doing this just for her, but Sass doesn't see it. And things really backfire, because, despite the rules Lou went along with, she's the one who ends up breaking them, being lured in by cute neighbor Leslie, who is most definitely a princess looking for a daddy (she has the manliest of girlfriends at home, but is getting absolutely no action from her). As Sass and Lou's relationship begins getting torn in two, master of ceremonies Chelsea pulls out the platforms and black latex, and prepares to "whip" everyone into shape. This movie offers the most whip cracks I've heard since The Lure closed in Greenwich Village.
Being a gay man whose favorite "lesbian" film is Basic Instinct, I'm no expert on lesbian films, but I really think this one's going to be a crowd pleaser. Rather than wasting its breath on militant lesbian statements or social commentary on lesbian struggles, it just offers loads of fun, celebrating hardcore sexual roles with lite humor while also revealing the hidden layers to relationships, both monogamous and open. There's a campy retro theme of oceanic references that strings scenes together, and the cast is completely loveable. I have no doubt that viewers are going to have some major crushes—and adore this movie, a gem in a sea of indy films that often take themselves too seriously.
Please note that all I had to work with for this review was a no frills promo copy of the movie, so I can't guarantee that the finished product will be the same. The aspect ratio is 1:85:1 letterbox on my copy. The transfer itself is pretty clean, with just a few signs of specks. There's some haloing, and the result is a fairly soft image around the edges. I also noted a bit of pixilation both in progressive scan and standard viewing, but it was more prominent in progressive. Even so, it was a nice, richly colored picture with nice contrast between black and bright.
My copy of the DVD was in 2.0 stereo. The bass was deep and rich, and the left/right separation was utilized to its fullest. The sound was clear and loud.
Alas, my preview copy has none of the extras on it, and no menus, but the DVD case lists the following features: Making of; commentary; outtakes; audition clips; trailer; closed caption; and more trailers for other Wolfe releases. All I can say is, this number of extras, if indeed included, really sweetens the pot, because the movie itself is well worth the investment.
Mango Kiss did the unthinkable—it hugely impressed a gay man. I adored this little romantic/comedy, loaded with sexual S&M role-playing setups for a group of charismatic lesbian characters exploring their sexuality and relationships. The DVD promises to have some nice extras, but the movie itself is enough to make this disc a keeper. Lesbians, gather a group of your best friends, exes, and enemies, and enjoy one funny, sexy movie night.