Striking Resemblance

Written by Melody Suppes and directed by Kelley Cauthen this 1997 film stars Nicole Gian as Jess Brody, a Homicide Detective. She’s been assigned to investigate a double-homicide, photographer Michael Perry and model Doria Tatra are found naked drugged and shot dead on the rooftop of the apartment building where Michael maintains his home studio. And that’s the basic plot of the film, it’s a murder mystery, as we follow Jess and her partner, Erik (Ash Adams), a fellow detective whom she’s also been in an intimate relationship with for some time. Over the course of the film they learn that Michael was a notorious womanizer, who slept with most of the women who posed for him, including Doria (we see them have sex in the beginning of the film, before they’re killed), even if they were married or in relationships. He also routinely recorded his sex sessions, leaving a stack of videotapes in his apartment. This reckless behavior has lead to various men threatening him before. Thus, a few possible suspects arise.

Johnny Tatro (Rhino Michaels), he was Doria’s husband. He runs a strip club that Doria used to work at. It turns out that Michael was a regular customer of the club, and discovered Doria and many of his models there. He admits to owning a 9mm handgun, which was the same time of gun that killed Michael and Doria, but can’t find it.

Tae Wong (Cece Tsou) is the landlord of the apartment building that Michael lived and worked in, who is also married and was sleeping with Michael. She claims she was asleep at the time of the murder and her husband, whom we don’t see in the film, was away on a business trip.

And Kim Yates plays Emma, who is both a stripper at Johnny’s club and was Michael’s assistant. She’s the one who discovered the bodies and claims that she was just friends with Michael but never slept with him. She seems like an unlikely suspect, but Jess thinks she could have possibly been jealous, as she appears to be the only woman Michael worked closely with whom he didn’t try to sleep with.

And then, minor spoiler but this applies to the title of the film, a fourth figure arrives. “Michael” shows up. It turns out that he’s actually one half of a pair of twins, and that he had an identical twin brother Matt, who has been institutionalized since he was 17 due to mental problems, including multiple suicide attempts. And it looks like while Michael was out of town on a photoshoot, Matt broke out of the institution and pretended to be Michael at his place, and it was actually him that was with murdered along with Doria.

So Jess tries to learn more about Michael and Matt’s history and background, which is complicated by her growing attraction to him (which is mutual). And while all of this is going on, Jess and Erik have been feeling strains in their relationship.

This is a decent enough story, if not entirely original. I won’t spoil the ending, but let’s just say it’s one that I predicted halfway through the film, and it’s something that a pair of trained detectives should have also figured out earlier. Nevertheless, getting to that ending was enjoyable enough to watch. And it’s helped by the stellar cast. Nicole Gian carries most of the film, and is a capable leading lady. Kevin Spirtas plays Michael and Matt, and is also a very good actor who has good chemistry in his scenes with Gian, as does Ash Adams. Kim Yates was also an actress whom I’ve always enjoyed, like Gian she’s from the era where softcore actresses were cast as much for their acting ability as for their willingness to get naked on film. This is one of those rare softcore films where you could cut out the nudity and explicit sex scenes and this could easily for like a Lifetime channel film.

As for the sex scenes, there isn’t a lot, but what we do get are all arousing. The highlight is the opening scene between Spirtas and Shauna O’Brien, who plays Doria. O’Brien always does good sex scenes and this is when she was in her pre-breast implants days when she still had her small but lovely natural breasts. Parts of another scene between the two are played later in the film, as it’s meant to show an earlier sex session that is being replayed on video. One time that the scene is being shown, as Jess is watching the video alone, the scene switches halfway through to Nicole Gian taking O’Brien’s place (as Jess is fantasizing that it’s her having sex with Michael). Spiritis and Gian also have a full actual sex scene. And there’s a full sex scene between Cece Tsou and a male actor who is not credited and whose character is not named.

So those three are it. There are also scenes of Kim Yates performing stripteases on stage in the club, and in another scene she gives someone a lapdance.  She gets topless in both, and they’re hot scenes, but it’s shame that she didn’t get at least one sex scene. There are a couple of other unnamed actress playing strippers who dance topless together and kiss each other on stage. The film also could have used another sex scene with Gian, perhaps with Adams. Since their characters were supposed to be in a relationship, even one with problems, a sex scene would have fit naturally into the film without disrupting the plot or feeling forced.

So I feel like with I did with The Corporate Ladder, I kind of have to split the ratings on this. If I were judging this strictly as a mainstream film, I could give it FOUR STARS, but as a softcore film, I’d only give it THREE STARS, as I feel that it needs a little more sex (which, let’s face it, is the primary reason that we watch softcore films).

Jason Majercik is selling this Unrated DVD for $24.99. Email him at for his softcore inventory list.

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