American Gigolo bumps up against sex, lies, and videotape in Intimate with a Stranger, a generally compelling relationships movie by first-time Brit helmer Mel Woods about a burned-out Santa Monica gigolo and his clients.
Main character is Jack (producer/co-scripter Roderick Mangin-Turner), who looks like a beefy, long-haired biker but is actually a dropped-out college prof who’s built a lucrative sack business servicing uptight femmes. In private, however, he’s living life out of the bottom of a bottle, still scorched by former g.f. Michelle (Daphne Nayar).
Though Jack is technically the central character, the movie is a showcase for a string of terrific female thumbnails, ranging from a tough career type (Ellenor Wilkinson) who starts by giving Jack a hard time, through a teen virgin (Janis Lee) who wants to kick off her sex life in style, to a Jewish wife (Amy Tolsky) whose marriage is low on mattress activity.
Performances by the women are strong down the line, headed by a wonderfully sad-comic and sexy perf by Tolsky as the bruised wife. Lee is also excellent in the tricky part of the California teen, and Wilkinson aces as the hardened career woman. Nayar brings a quiet sophistication to the part of Michelle. Interiors were all shot at the UK’s Shepperton Studios.