Is it languid business intrigue seasoned with sex or languid sex seasoned with business intrigue? Either way, PLAYBACK just lies there, faking it.
Brainstorming a satellite-communications merger, corporate vice president David Burgess (Charles Grant) is too busy to pay attention to spouse Sara (Tawny Kitaen). Realizing their marriage is on the verge of bankruptcy, they both loosen up and experiment with erotic videos as sexual aids. Back in
the boardroom, conniving exec Karen Stone (Shannon Whirry) sees David's recharged libido as leverage for her own career. She arranges a liaison between Sara and company CEO Gil Braman (George Hamilton), and has a seedy PI (Harry Dean Stanton) snap pictures of the pair in a compromising position
and mail them to David. Whether she seduces David or takes his place at Gil's side, Karen seems destined for success when a jealous David punches out Gil. But David realizes the truth and secretly reconciles with Sara. Sara tricks Gil into a videotaped S&M session, inserted into the multimedia
presentation shown to the amused partners in the merger. Meanwhile David and some upstart allies put together a better merger deal on their own.
With COVER ME (1995) and TEMPTRESS (1995), this makes a trio of spicy narrative features produced by the Playboy empire for the 1990s straight-to-video market and distributed via Paramount. Writer-director Francis "Oley" Sassone once did a half-decent steamy suspense film, FINAL EMBRACE (1992),
for Roger Corman, but by the time Playboy got his services, the erotic-thriller genre, once boosted by the 1992 blockbuster BASIC INSTINCT, was basically stale. And so is PLAYBACK.
Between torpid, torrid encounters, it strives for redeeming social value with a speech by Harry Dean Station scolding men like David for ruining countless lives in corporate streamlinings and restructurings; David's subsequent mega-deal is admired as an enlightened masterpiece of humane and fair
management. Executive ethics and explicit eros are strange bedfellows indeed, and if PLAYBACK is any indication, a dull coupling. Tellingly, Playboy's later forays into B-filmmaking were not carried by Paramount; they later moved to Orion Home Video. (Adult situations, nudity, sexual situations,profanity)
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- Released: 1996
- Rating: R
- Review: Is it languid business intrigue seasoned with sex or languid sex seasoned with business intrigue? Either way, PLAYBACK just lies there, faking it. Brainstorming a satellite-communications merger, corporate vice president David Burgess (Charles Grant) is t… (more)