Way too cutesy, but less pretentious than most Zen features
I don't know how porn director Michael Zen is thought of these days, but back in the '90s he was a big deal, ranked up there with Michael Ninn and Michael Raven, to limit us merely to the Mikes. This little feature for Vivid can be praised as effortless or criticized as veering toward the negligible.
With tons of makeup, Anthony Crane is the narrator with a dumb Latino accent, in sort of the role that would have gone to Edward James Olmos (re: Zoot Suit) had that fine actor been a porn denizen instead. Zen way overuses a gimmick of Crane magically halting the action, causing the actors to freeze on the spot (replete with a childish, annoying sound effect applied). This Brechtian device shows you can't keep a pretentious director down, but "Scenes from a Bar" is no "Our Town".
The gimmickry is merely in support of the vignette nature of the show, telegraphed by "Scenes" in the title. Result is far closer to the disaster "Scenes from a Mall" than Bergman's classic "Scenes from a Marriage".
We view the bar denizens on Halloween, all dressed up in costumes but for some unexplained reason most of them have Cowboy garb on. Most outre of the five sx scenes is a tribute to cross-dressing, as groom T.T. Boy is in a wedding dress with Rupaul makeup on, humping his bride Alyssa Alure with a mustache painted on her face, the two of them in a car in threesome with Katie Gold, dressed as the flower girl from the wedding.
Vivid contract star Kobe Tai is alluring as always, playing the wife to Mark Davis's husband, who plan to have fun at the bar but have pledged fidelity. Of course, both of them break that pledge and the only semblance of a plot has their vying to get even with each other for real or imagined cheating.
Role-playing is clearly the numero uno fetish for this feature, and overall it plays on about the same level as today's many fake-storyline DVDs, particularly those cranked out for Erotica X by Zen's contemporary who has demonstrated laudable career longevity, James Avalon.
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