Take a step back, and breathe.

Okay, now come closer. You can’t hear me from all the way back there.

Am I clearer now? Good.

I felt like I needed to give you the time to parse the title you have just read. If, like me, you grew up in Britain during the ’90s, you’ll know exactly who Shannon Tweed is, most likely due to the existence of Channel 5. Her extensive back catalogue steadily made its way onto UK TV, and as it did, Tweed completists were religiously setting their VCRs to record every Friday night.

That is to say, I certainly was.

You may also know James Brolin… that is to say, Golden Globe-winning, Emmy-winning, has-a-star-on-the-Hollywood-walk-of-fame, married-to-Barbra-Streisand James Brolin. Yes, this is actually him. His Wikipedia entry seems to omit the fact that he did soft porn. I wonder why.

Appearance: Indecent Behavior II (1994)
Characters: Dr Rebecca Mathis & Liam O’Donnell

Now it’s my turn to take a step back and breathe to get over the fact that I had to use the American spelling of “behaviour”. I’m never, ever doing that again.

At the very least, I am aware of this series, and to my knowledge there are four Indecent Behavio(u)r films (although the fourth one was later retitled Human Desires), and from what I’ve seen – or at least what my memory tells me I’ve seen – they are all very similar. Tweed is the star, but this one also contains Nikki Fritz and Rochelle Swanson, so at least there are a few bonus names there.

Boooooooooooobs.
This is Soft Porn Sunday, so I’ve got to put some boobs in somewhere.

Like the rest, IB2 is an erotic thriller, with the erotic parts serving to fluff out the thriller parts. In fact, in essence, IB2 is more of a whodunnit; reporter Shoshona (Elizabeth Sandifer) investigating people before getting hecka murdered. The suspects, such as they are, include Tweed’s character, sex therapist Rebecca Mathis, and that’s where she comes in.

The trope of “sex therapist not having a lot of sex” is one that has seen its fair share of days in the sun, and it very much shows here, with Rebecca’s sexual awakening amounting to two shower scenes plus one sex scene with Brolin. To keep the punters happy, or something.

The scene itself

Popular though she may be, I’ve never really gotten on with Shannon Tweed’s sex scenes. There may well be nudity, but there’s very little movement. Lots of close-ups, dimly lit sets and often just the merest hint of implied sex rather than the bump’n’grind of more recent stuff.

Light. Lots and lots of light.
Rebecca, Liam and the Time Vortex making a cameo appearance.

This scene is a good example, actually. The first half-minute shows us nothing more than Rebecca and Liam (Brolin’s character) in a fairly extensive kiss in front of a curiously bright light, and at thirty seconds we cut to a shot of Liam’s chest, with Rebecca’s hand… sort of caressing and then deciding not to?

By this point, the scene seems to have been set up already. Holy light notwithstanding, everything’s quite dim; the focus is deliberately soft, and we also have the classic ’90s erotic thriller music underscoring the whole thing: slow, held synthy chords; slide guitar every now and again; occasional wind chimes and a clave hit thrown in every now and then for good measure. It’s slow and sultry and would suit the scene were I at all interested. By 00:34, I can tell where this is going.

00:35 is the start of what I assume to be sex, although with all the camera changes it’s difficult to tell. Undoubtedly Tweed is making the noises, although that’s also questionable, as they are relatively sparse. Some bits definitely are – there are a few shots of Rebecca in the astride position and something which may be a stab at doggie – but nothing lasts very long.

Sex. Just not much of it.
I took a screenshot to make this last longer. It’s two seconds otherwise.

Deliberately, I assume. Every two seconds or so there is a mix shot to a different angle, occasionally featuring extreme close-up; for a while, this is more like a montage than an actual sex scene. It’s very odd.

At around 01:05 – which is more than halfway through this this scene clocks in at two minutes exactly – we do at last get a shot of what I recognise at being a sex scene. Liam is on top of Rebecca and they are undoubtedly having sex at this point – but, again, this fades out. This carries on for the rest of the scene, too, as they film various brief shots of sex in various positions but them mix out to more chest kissing or somesuch!

Sex and shadows.
Some interesting shadow patterns on the wall behind them there.

In fact, the chest kissing is what they keep coming back to – quite literally, because it’s the same shot of Rebecca kissing Liam’s chest recycled several times in the same scene! Nice one, movie!

So what is it?

This must, must, must be a deliberate attempt to film a sex scene without showing a lot of sex. There’s no other excuse for it. You’ve got two talented actors here, and an adequate set (well… a bed), but there are so many overly-short shots and insta-mixes that the message kind of gets lost somewhere. What is happening here? Is Rebecca attracted to Liam or not? Is he some sort of beautiful lady magnet or is that just his chest? Are either of them enjoying this? Tweed smiles at some point, but that’s the only indication we get, really!

Would anyone like to sign a petition to have this film retitled Indecent Directing?