With three episodes down (and lots of going down), it's time to check in with the new Skinemax series, Femme Fetales. It's been touted as a horror-comedy (Tales From the Crypt homage in evidence with its interstitial host, but instead of a cold corpse we get a hot bod in Tanit Phoenix). It's been touted as TV noir, too. What it really is, is sexploitation.
The first episode is a women in prison story with lots of strip searches, shower scenes, cat fights, lesbian lust, and male guard / female inmate action. But wait, there's more! Well, not much more, but there is some semblance of a story. Lindsay Lohan styled starlet Lacey Rivers (Kit Willesee) is thrown into the slammer after one too many nights of glamour thumbing her oft-coked nose at the law.
Lacey soon finds friends are few and far between, the dykes are thick as thieves, and if that wasn't enough, the only males within come-hither range — the young guard (Will Poston) and the old warden (Paul Mazursky) — seem to care only about Lacey's fame. What's a girl to do? Make that: who's a girl to do? Answer: Everyone! Yeah, there's something about a secret past and an escape plan, but those plot points are only a means to an end (a rear end, of course).
In another episode ("Something Like Murder") Wicked Lake's Carlee Baker plays a sure-handed masseuse who changes the (sex) life of a bored trophy wife (Anya Monzikova). In "Speed Date" a video game designer Kevin (Reggie Hayes) decides to try online romancing but gets more than he logged on for when he discovers his date (Daphne Duplaix) lied on her profile.
Having seen three episodes of the original anthology, I can certainly attest to the fact Femme Fetales isn't horror, it isn't comedy, and it's barely noir. While I do think the casting, cinematography and various flourishes (such as the music and the editing) are better-than-average for soft-core, there isn't enough in the scripts to keep me watching.
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Reviewed by Staci Layne Wilson