No doubt about it, Songs has got the beat. It's topical, political, hysterical, musical, and best of all, very, very physical. It's very much worthy of AVN's first AAAA 1/2 rating for a gay video this year. Director Chi Chi LaRue has managed to harmonize some of the best all-male bods in the business, and the accomplished campy director was able to eke out some pretty decent acting - right down to the ironic side-long glances given by Brett Ford as the bartender.
Wes Daniels is stupendous as the smarmy slick agent who picks up on working stud Joey Stefano and murmurs, "I've always believed the best things in life aren't free." Casting the newcomer Randy Mixer in the lead role, and then having him lip-sync incredibly well was a brilliant stroke by Chi Chi, and it's sure to put Mixer into the A-list category of male pornstars. Jason Ross, proving once again to be a dependable actor as well as all-around sexy guy, plays a drunk who stays in character even during sex scenes and later has an amusing chat with his teddy bear. Danny Sommers is portrayed uncharacteristically as a studious, serious, devoted boyfriend.
Perhaps Chi Chi got such good acting out of his cast because the roles were very much like the pornstars themselves in some cases. Stefano, who has seen his zenith in the industry, is playing a character who laments about getting too old. And Sharon Kane is very appropriate as the momma-like Dory, a bartender who takes care of her stable of young handsome men. She changes her hair color and style very time we see her, and in one scene she wears earrings as big as Frisbees! She wrote and sang some of the songs herself - Chris Green did most of them - and she wrote a government-bashing song "Cash and Carry" which she dedicates "To all of you who think I have no goddamn political consciousness." Dillon Fox and Tony Belmonte join her in nonsexual dancing roles. Sharon also chastises all guys with such great lines as: "All you think about is that scrawny tube of flesh with wrinkled skin. I've met dildos with more brains!"
The writing is by Stan Mitchell, in his second stellar collaboration with LaRue. Their first, Jumper, was last year's big AVN winner, and I'm not sure if this one actually beats it out, because they're so different, but it certainly is just as good. Most important, it's just as likely to generate the same kind of popular word-of-mouth as that one did.
William Hunter's camera angles are complex and unique. They make attempts at some artsy stuff, like the silhouettes of the actors in the nightclub crowd in the opening. The artsiness falls a bit short, however, when the dark lighting turns the singers blue and red in an MTV-like way. The songs are a welcome addition to these something, but there should be more montages of sex going on during the singing, (like in the clip shown after the credits) because the songs get a bit boring visually.
Spoken lines are sometimes unclear, especially when uttered by Chance Caldwell, an Arnold-like muscleman. Otherwise, there's a bit of romance, sweetness and poignancy, as well as great songs, making this well worth it's $30,000 budget. Despite its somewhat goofy title, Songs in the Key of Sex is someting to sing about.