Director: Warren Evans
Length: 78 min
Actress: Candida Royalle, [Facial] Marlene Willoughby, [Facial, IR] Merle Michaels, [BJOnly] Christine DeShaffer, (aka Christine De Shaffer)[Facial] Chula Henry, Erica Mathews, (aka Sue Flossen)[Anal, DP] Diane Sloan, Wanda Manes, Denise Sloan
Actors: Randy West, Ashley Moore, (aka Steve Bridges)Jack Teague, (aka Jake Teague)Ron Hudd, (aka Ivan Toos)David Ruby, (aka Dave Ruby)Rick Iverson, (aka Jeremy Wyatt)Gordon Duvall, (aka Sleepie La Beef)Gil Perkins, (aka Gilberto)Marc Valentine, (aka Marc Valentino)The Sloan T
I’m on record with a preference for "real", storyline movies from Shaun Costello, and SUNNY qualifies. Had his script been more interesting and better-developed, this would have been a winner, and not such an obscure title 30-odd years later.
Candida Royalle has the very juicy title role, a well-paid prostitute (actually a lot more than that) working for Frisco-based mystery man John Carmichael (Jake Teague, in a non-sex role). Film is set in NY with the airplane transition shots with Frisco a pointless affectation.
Wealthy heiress Mabel Carter (Marlene Willoughby) has hired them in a scheme to get her wayward son Marc (Jeremy Wyatt) to marry Sunny, permitting her to regain control of the vast estate which her late husband left in trust to Marc.
Costello’s one-note script’s weakness is evident in our being reminded several times over the course of the next hour (by Jake and Marlene) that Sunny should watch out lest she get greedy and try to take the whole caboodle if she’s able to marry Marc. Hammering away at the obvious (which in fact is Sunny’s plan) does not make for effective drama or suspense.
That is virtually the entire plot, which Costello fleshes out with interesting and diverting sexual incidents. Used to cranking out dozens of 1-day wonders, when he gets a sizable (for porn) budget like this one he peppers the film with a plethora of name talent.
For example, if you blink three times you’ll miss the Sloan Twins, Denise and Diana, working together on fellatio at a fancy masquerade party Sunny throws late in the film. Similarly, a favorite of mine Christine De Shaffer looks great in blonde format, but we barely see her body at all in a brief stint at the same orgy.
Key theme is wrong love, which is broadly hinted at by Willoughby in the film’s prologue, but turns out to be vividly depicted by Shaun building to an important revenge twist. I thought he muffed it, both dramatically and psychologically at the film’s climax where Wyatt finally asserts himself, but perhaps I’m too much of a stickler.
Film’s final twist is unconvincing and carries little impact.
Royalle, better known now decades later as a feminist porn director, is terrific as Sunny, able to make a schemer downright sympathetic to the viewer. Willoughby is wonderful as always -delivering Grade-A acting even though it’s in a porno. Jeremy Wyatt/Rick Iverson is singularly unimpressive in the crucial male lead role -it’s a classic case of a bit player Peter Principled into a starring slot. Whatever Shaun saw in him doesn’t show up on screen.
Though some of the interior lighting is deficient (or perhaps due to some poor DVD transfer -I cranked my set up to the 90s in Brightness level and still couldn’t see what was going on in a couple of key scenes), Costello does give the film a relatively luxurious look, with yacht or mansion settings. The who’s who of a cast (one foursome with Royalle has Randy West, Ron Hudd and Dave Ruby all marking time) is largely wasted.
The TVX box for the DVD proudly touts Seka as second-billed behind Candida, but she’s not in the film at all, typical false advertising.