Written and Directed: Helen Lesnick
What you get out of Inescapable depends entirely upon your expectations. Despite knowing the film was just soft porn with a plot, the fact that this film came from Helen Lesnick (A Family Affair) probably raised my expectations higher than they should have been. For instance, I thought Lesnick had a reasonable grasp of dialogue. I thought she knew how to light for the screen, and record sound, and keep the camera from wobbling uncontrollably.
All this is just another way of saying I was totally unprepared for just how bad this film would be. To all those people who complained about the production values on Go Fish, be warned. Inescapable makes Go Fish look like The English Patient.
Jessie and Susan are a couple who travel to Oregon so that Susan can attend a conference. While there, they stay with another couple, Beth and Chloe. Susan and Beth are old friends who are both attending the seminars, which leaves Chloe and Jessie to their own devices for the loooooooong daylight hours.
Pretty soon Jessie and Chloe find a way to spend their downtime. The first tryst on the kitchen floor is sexy, but the surrounding dialogue is just hideous to the point where I would have been quite happy had the cinema's sound broken down leaving us only with the visuals. This would also have solved the problem of the annoying, tinny soundtrack.
Thus begins a lot of sex, interspersed with scenes where the couples hike, picnic, drink wine, play board games and eat at restaurants, all with the intention of building tension but which only succeed in making us want to strangle everyone involved, right down to the last gaffer. I wanted to take Susan and slap the perkiness out of her.
I watched this film together with 200+ vaguely amused lesbians at a festival, so I know for a fact that the only thing that makes this film enjoyable is audience participation. So if you're going to watch this movie, do it in groups larger than five so that there's a variety of catcalling. My favourite was a woman answering the line "What are we going to do?" with "Get counselling!" The options of "get a scriptwriter!" and "kill me" were equally valid.
Jessie, who is the dominant one in the sex scenes, also has a jealous streak. She watches morosely as Chloe talks to other women at a party and drags her upstairs caveman-like to begin an ill-conceived sex scene while the party is in full swing. I kept thinking, when people are having quickie, I'm-in-danger-of-being-caught sex, they rarely remove every article of clothing they're wearing, but anyway. Beth, who is a bit more clued in than perky-Susan, looks for Chloe, oddly accompanied by creepy music that made me think there would be a shower-scene stabbing as a twist. Lo and behold, the philanderers escape being caught.
Finally, after sex, sex and more sex, the angst kick ins. Just when you think nothing can be worse than the lines they use to seduce each other, then come the lines they use to try breaking up. Jessie argues the futility of it all and eventually breaks down into a hilarious "but I'm not emotionally capable to sustain this pressure" speech, which had the audience rolling in the aisles. No character should ever say "this is going to end badly" in any context other than escaping at light-speed from an intergalactic space baddie.
It has to be possible to have a film that can combine both good story and good sex. I do applaud Lesnick's intent, to produce erotica that is more in line with what your average lesbian would be likely to experience in the bedroom. I did like the lack of long fingernails or rubber penises. The film scores a half-star from me just for the shower sex scene, which was the only time that the audience all shut up at once.
My advice if you're planning to watch this is to lower your expectations to absolute zero and be prepared to laugh at the sex. Better yet, turn off the TV and go and have sex. No matter how it goes it will be better than watching this movie. As a porn film, Inescapable is already pretty awful, but as regular entertainment it falls hilariously flat. It's almost bad enough to be good, but remember, you'll never get these eighty minutes back again.