STOLEN HEARTS

1
Directed by: Ralph Portillo
Written by: Jalee Bailey
Released: Sometimes in 1998

Okay, here we go, another film from my vast collection of VHS tapes. It’s been a lazy Saturday, and I was browsing through my collection and came across this one, not even remembering ever watching or recording it. But just like the previously reviewed PRISON HEAT, this film co-stars actress Lori-Jo Hendrix (credited as Lori Jo Hendrix-Kenton here, I guess she was married), an actress I’ve talked to on Facebook and Twitter, so I figured let me give this a look and review it.

This is one of those “erotic thriller/softcore” films that dominated late-night Cinemax in the 90’s, meaning that the story was pretty much built around sex. And it doesn’t waste any time, as it opens with one sex scene and then gives us 2nd sex scene within the first 10 minutes of the film. Paula Aletonis stars Dana, who owns her own bar, which apparently only has two employees, waitresses Tess (Landon Hall) and Sherrie (Hendrix), because they’re all I ever seen working in the bar, which is always packed with customers. Dana has been dating Brandon (Jim Fimiani), and they’re the two characters having sex (in Dana’s private office in the back of the bar) as the film opens. Brandon slips some pills in a drink (mind you, he does this while he and Dana are having sex) and then, after they’re finished and getting dressed, he hands her the drink to make a toast. She drinks it, gets dizzy and passes out. Brandon lays her on the couch in the office, and then opens a small safe, and takes a bunch of cash out of it. We later find out that it was $600,000, Dana’s entire life-savings, which she’d been keeping in cash instead of the bank to avoid paying taxes on it. Brandon splits and Tess and Sherrie go into the office later they wake-up Dana and she discovers that her cash is missing. Dana hires a private investigator named Justin (Vincent Dale) to track Brandon down. There’s no real reason given as to why Dana didn’t call the police, considering that drugging a woman and stealing $600k are MAJOR crimes, its just implied that Dana still has some residual feeling for Brandon because the sex was so good, and therefore doesn’t want to send him to jail, she just wants her money back..

Okay, whatever. We see Brandon with another woman, named by Monica (played by Julian Whittaker – yes, that’s a woman). They’re having sex in the shower when we first see them together. Then afterward they’re making plans to run off to Rio. Monica knew about his plan to rob Dana, and she has helped Brandon get a fake passport so they can leave together before he gets caught. But Brandon double-crosses her, he drugs her and when she passes out, he takes envelope she put the passport in, and her money, and then leaves her. Only he soon discovers that the envelope she gave him was empty. It seems like Monica didn’t quite trust him, so she double-crossed him (although she doesn’t call the cops on him, either) So Brandon has to contact someone else to get a fake passport made and hide out until it’s ready, so he can leave for Rio. This is while Justin is on the case trying to find him first.

So that’s your plot. Will Justin find Brandon and get the money back before Brandon skips town for good? Tune in to find out. I will give a few more little details. Tess has psychic powers. Yes, really, she does. When she touches someone she can see details of their private thoughts. That ability comes in handy several times, as she volunteers to help Justin with his investigation. Their big lead takes them to a strip club that Brandon frequented, where one of the strippers is legendary XXX film star JEANNIE PEPPER. It was odd to see her in this film, but she doesn’t have any dialog, just one short scene stripping on stage. We later find out that Sherrie, unbeknownst to Dana and Tess, is moonlight at that club as a stripper, because she says that doesn’t make enough as a waitress and really needs the extra money. This is despite that the fact that we see she lives in a very nice home with a pool in the back. Brandon eventually contacts her and convinces her to let him hide out at her place until his fake passport is ready, in exchange for him giving her $100,000. He even manages to seduce her and they they have sex in the pool, but then of course he drugs and betrays her as well. There’s also a running subplot that Tess keeps having dreams and visions of herself out in some forest by a waterfall with some man, but she always wakes up before she can see whom the man is.

So, like I said, this film is based around sex, and there are 7 sex scenes in this film. In addition to the opening scene with Dana and Brandon, and the later scenes with Brandon and Monica and Brandon and Sherrie, we also get an early sex scene with Justin and his girlfriend Gina (Kristin Herold), who then promptly dumps him because she doesn’t approve of his job as a private investigator. And then later Dana and Justin get together. And Sherrie has a boyfriend named David (Darren Lebrecht) whom we see once, earlier in the film, when they have sex in a backroom at Dana’s bar. And there’s a scene with Tess, but I can’t say whom it is with, since that would spoil the film (seriously).

I guess there’s actually the germ of a good story deep within this script. A womanizing con-man is going around drugging women and stealing their money, until one of his victims hires a P.I. to catch him. That sounds like a random Lifetime Original Movie. But shoehorning in the whole plot device of psychic powers, and the illogical actions of some of the characters, especially Sherrie, who’s betrayal of Dana and willingness to sleep with Brandon just comes out of nowhere, make it hard to take this seriously. Frankly, Lori Jo Hendrix’s sex scenes are the only thing that make this film worth watching (she is hot). Otherwise, this isn’t much for me to recommend.

STOLEN HEARTS

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