Playpal Pirates   by Colonel Lingus

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Title: Pirates
Company: Digital Playground/Adam & Eve.
Director: Joone.
Cast: Jesse Jane, Carmen Luvana, Janine, Teagan Presley, Devon, Austyn Moore, Jenaveve Jolie, Charmane Star, Trina Michaels, Austin Kincaid, Jolie Harris, Evan Stone, Tommy Gunn, Steven St. Croix, Kris Slater, Brian Surewood, Scott Nails; Frank Bukkwyd, Nham, Harry Bali, Keyser Soze, Mando M., Joshua, Others (Non-Sex Roles).
Running Time: 130 Min.
Extras: Behind the Scenes, Bloopers, Biographies, Featurettes, HD DVD Disk, Still Gallery, Trailers.

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Every few years, the adult video industry decides to peel off a few of the jabillion bucks it makes a year to put out something that actually carries some production value with it. I happened to be working at Private USA when its parent company released The Pyramid, which was the first adult production to cost more than (in Dr. Evil voice) … one MILLION dollars! Muwaahahaha!

Its other claim to fame was that some of that production took place inside one of the genuine Egyptian pyramids, a crime punishable by death had the heathens been caught.

Well, director Joone may not have risked his life while making the latest example of the Big Bad Budget, Pirates, but he surely risked lots of Digital Playground’s bones while brewing up the adult epic. In fact, the production was so costly that DP decided to share the cost with fellow couple-friendly company Adam & Eve.

The result is the first adult film which can boast CGI effects more sophisticated than pixilated jizz shots. Joone may not be as adept at glossy cinematography as Andrew Blake, but there’s no doubting the effort it took to make this film look good. And it does. The computer-generated skeletons are decent, but moreover the lighting and set design represent no less than an achievement for the adult film industry.

Still, there’s no way that the hyper-self-aware industry is gonna handle an affair like this with a completely straight face, and the Modern Master of Mug, Evan Stone, is on hand to chew muff … AND scenery. Stone is quickly becoming Bruce Campbell with a Boner (not that the B-Movie Titan doesn’t have a boner, he just doesn’t pop it out for public, erm, consumption). It’s quite a tightrope for Stone to walk as an adult performer, as he risks rendering himself as a buffoon in the scenes where he’s not supposed to be a buffoon. Not that this has been a problem for Ron Jeremy, but I digress.

But while all this production-related effort puts “Pirates” in its own category of adult (and it’s been rewarded by an avalanche of AVN nominations), I have to say that I was a little underwhelmed by the actual SEX that takes place during the film. I suppose for a feature aimed at the typical mainstream American couple, the performances suffice. For those of us who’ve seen, oh, I don’t know, 1000 adult titles, it definitely leaves one with the taste of “Ehhh” in their filthy mouths.

Maybe it’s because I don’t exactly have a hard-on for Digital Playground’s current crop of so-called cuties. Much is made of their main contract girl, Jesse Jane, but I ain’t buying it. She’s not a particularly compelling performer, and she looks like Jaime Pressly if Jaime Pressly was in a constantly bad mood. Which is sad, because she sure sounded like a nice girl when she was on the Howard Stern Show recently to promote “Pirates.” It’s okay, girl … smile once in a while.

I always thought it was strange for DP to go with Jesse Jane in the post-Tera Patrick period. Tera was luscious, curvy, exotic, and fun to watch while handling a big ol’ slab o’ man-gristle. Jesse is … umm, not.

On the other hand, Jenaveve Jolie, woefully underused in “Pirates,” is all that and a bag of peanut butter-filled pretzels. This Hispanic hottie is far and away my favorite relative newcomer (and a well-deserving AVN nominee for Best New Starlet). If every other adult release in 2006 featured just her and fellow Latina Victoria Sweet, I’d be a happy man. And busy. VERY busy.