Nostalgia and tequila, that's what Justine boils down to. Just try to remember the last adult film that snuck up on you as smoothly as half a dozen shots of Cuervo Gold, and kicked you in the ass just as hard. Nostalgia? Justine recalls the days of yore – a mere decade ago – when films were simply films, not two-tiered marketing strategies. Films that had engaging characters, who screwed not just as cinematographer's wet dream mannequins in a rented palace, but with actual motivation. This isn't just a porn movie friends. It's a movie, period. And a damned arousing one at that.
Elegant simplicity defines Justine's success. Raven Touchstone's bittersweet script (a sequel to Nothing To Hide in name only, and the sole marketing-before-art strategy enforced by Metro) engenders a love triangle centered around Roxanne Blaze, about whom Mike Horner and Nick East buzz like doomed moths to the flame. Paul Thomas infuses it with a million volts of sexual energy, spinning it off its axis for a deliriously unbridled affair that's both romantic and kinky – the quintessential couples feature.
After quickly establishing the relationship between widower/father Horner and photographer/son East, the film splits off into parallel courses, tracking their sex lives. Unfortunately, Horner's is a massive train wreck – though not for lack of trying. His first date (with Tianna, looking mighty fine in black lace) heats up with dirty talk, graduates to spanking, and earns a master's degree in kink as he licks her shaven pussy and jams a chrome dildo up her vertical smile. (A minor continuity snafu: Tianna's bald beaver suddenly regains full bush a day later.) Yet nervous Horner loses wood and can't perform; a realistic incident (one hardly ever broached in adult vids) cleverly calculated to create both sympathy for Horner and exquisite blue balls for the viewer.
A textbook study could be written here about masterful intercutting, as the first of Roxanne's erotic scenes (sparked by a marriage proposal from Nick, which she diplomatically rebuffs) unfolds simultaneously with Tianna/Horner. As she and Nick 69, he fingers her ass, driving her wild; but she delays orgasm until she can straddle and hump him ferociously, jerking him off into her mouth. When Nick comes back from the shower, she's still going solo, a foreshadowing of the insatiable passion that leads her to snare Horner when East goes out of town for business. It just so happens that Roxy's a reporter, clerking at an adult bookstore for an investigative piece; Horner wanders in looking for a cock ring ("for my brother" he claims, tactfully attempting to describe his own pecker size). Unaware that Nick is the common denominator between then, flirtatious sparks fly like tracer bullets at a Beirut birthday party, and the flaming triangle is ignited. In a discreet corner, she leads Horner on, letting him cop a feel and roam inside her jeans… just for a moment.
It's unlikely – no, unthinkable – that anyone other than Roxanne Blaze could have essayed the title role; her deceptively stunning girl-next-door looks and cockteasing manner are not only appropriate but inspired, as is her performance – and take notice, it's her swan song to the adult biz. (Though not her last feature to be released – Ed.) Determined to keep their relationship anonymous, Blaze meets Horner at a restaurant of his choosing. It turns out to be empty (he owns it), and they embark on a libidinous meal which redefines the meaning of shrimp cocktail. Rubbing the appetizer on her pussy, he cuts off her panties with a butter knife while feeding her the succulent snack. She dons a nipple clip, handcuffs him to the railing, and bangs/deep throats him into oblivion – drawing out every act with delicious solo teasing.
The physical and psychological tension escalates: Just prior to a weekend outing of experimental multi-partner sex, Roxanne inadvertently discovers that Horner is her boyfriend's father! Keeping mum, she and Horner rise to the next level of experimentation by engaging in an orgy with Lacy Rose (who steals the scene with anal) Dyanna Lauren, Alex Sanders, and Brad Armstrong. Although it establishes a plot point (Roxanne promised to make it with girls only, but instead fucks Alex Sanders), it's perhaps the weakest sexual encounter in the film – mainly for a lack of intimacy.
This intimacy, and the way the characters approach (or run from) the emotion, is the flammable fuel that drives the story. Tianna deserves special mention in her supporting role as the ever-horny, ever-indecisive "older woman" attracted to Horner. Her disappointment when Horner fails to choose her as a mate is as genuine as her two volcanic, driven-by-desperation sex scenes.
Which brings us to the heart of Justine: true erotica. Certainly, the film contains the requisite gear-grinding footage, but virtually every frame is designed to rouse the trouser snake with visual/verbal tease. None of it is gratuitous – the games these adults play has life-affecting consequences. Virtually anyone can relate to the repercussions of falling in lust and suddenly wanting to back out; a corner that Roxanne finds herself trapped in when Horner declares his love. And run she does, abandoning Horner and East in a poignant finale that eschews the usual guy-wins-gal scenario. It's P.T.'s most intimate, assured work since The Masseuse and surefire nomination material in categories both sexual and thespic.