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PLAYBOY HOME VIDEO

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Various
Cast:
Various
Writing Credits:
Various

Synopsis:
We went coast-to-coast in search of gorgeous working girls willing to share their sexiest assets! In the aisles of Wal-Mart they shed their blue vests to help you put on a smiley face, and over at McDonald's the girls offer more than fries with that shake. The beautiful baristas at Starbucks brew hot and steamy goodness and down the road at Hooters the girls are the best dishes on the menu in and out of their teeny orange uniforms. Once you see what these beauties serve up in these after-hours scenarios, you'll never look at the girl behind the counter the same way again!

MPAA:
Rated NR

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Fullscreen 1.33:1
Widescreen 1.78:1/16x9 (Girls of McDonald’s Only)
Audio:
English Stereo
Subtitles:
None
Not Closed-captioned

Runtime: 210 min.
Price: $24.99
Release Date: 9/19/2006

Bonus:
Girls of Hooters:
• Slide Show
• Previews
Women of Starbucks:
• Candid Interviews
• Playboy Music Clips
• Photo Gallery
• Previews
Women of Wal-Mart:
• Playboy Music Clips
• Candid Interviews
• Photo Gallery
• Trailers
Girls of McDonald’s:
• “Best of Playboy’s Women/Girls of Series” Featurette
• Photo Gallery
• Trailers


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EQUIPMENT
Sony 36" WEGA KV-36FS12 Monitor; Sony DA333ES Processor/Receiver; Panasonic CV-50 DVD Player using component outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Sony SA-WM40 Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Playboy: Women Of Retail (2006)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (October 6, 2006)

A new release called Playboy Women of Retail packages together four prior DVDs, We get 1994’s Girls of Hooters, 2003’s Women of Starbucks, 2004’s Women of Wal-Mart and 2005’s Girls of McDonald’s. Although I usually review the content of Playboy DVDs in detail, the amount of footage here means that I’d prefer to offer general thoughts for the videos. The sole exception will come from McDonald’s simply because I already reviewed it; no reason to cut short that article, so I’ll reiterate those comments here.

Girls of Hooters (57 minutes) presents 11 models, most of whom get their own brief video sessions; Le Toia Francis and Tanya DeShields pose together for their clip. (A few other uncredited models appear at times too; for instance, Playboy regulars will recognize lingerie star Alley Baggett in one segment.) Each model introduces her section with absurd fantasy dialogue, always delivered awkwardly. I hope none of these women shot for acting careers, as they displayed very little talent.

By far the oldest of the videos in this set, Hooters shows its age. Playboy’s 90s releases tended to be pretty unsatisfying, as they came with too much gauzy photography and choppy editing. They still lean that way at times, but they tend toward more straightforward material these days, most of which is more satisfying.

Hooters has each model introduce a concept – riding a Harley, sunning on the beach, etc. – and then we watch them pose/frolic/gyrate in a connected way. This usually doesn’t prove very satisfying. The show starts poorly with Bonnita McCourt. She’s pretty but has some very unattractive implants – they’re too bulbous for her taut body – and she’s saddled with a scenario that forces her to make out with some ludicrous Fabio wannabe. The segment uses lots of blown-out lighting and jerky semi-slo-mo to quickly wear out its welcome.

We see lots more of the gauzy look and clumsy slo-mo throughout Hooters, and that renders the program less effective. Even the better models – like very sexy Renata Brazil and Lauren Brehm – prove less effective due to the “fantasy” photography. The frequent use of dopey male models as accessories doesn’t help. I don’t know about anyone else, but I don’t particularly want to see some lunkheaded stud make out with these babes. Just show us the women and leave these mimbos at home.

Even had the program used more enticing scenarios, the models would have made it less than thrilling. I’ve said it before, I’ll continue to say it: implants are a major turnoff, especially when they’re really poorly done. Some look decent, but none of this program’s fake breasts seem anything other than obvious and ugly. As I mentioned, McCourt ruins her body with her implants, and the same goes for otherwise sexy models like Kimberly Hall, Casey Gray and Sheila Davis.

If I had to pick a highlight here, I’d go with gorgeous Jennifer Hurley. I’m normally a brunette man, but she’s a stunning blonde with a sensational natural body. She does a sensual strip in a diner that sounds idiotic on paper but proves quite effective.

Unfortunately, Hurley is a fairly isolated high point of this disc. Girls of Hooters proves too stylish and silly for its own good. The “glamour” photography and overwrought fantasies on display don’t offer the models to their best advantage. This is a generally lackluster Playboy product, and not one that I particularly like.

On the other hand, we now come to Women of Starbucks (56 minutes). I’ve been watching Playboy videos literally since their first videotapes in the early 80s. While I’ve not viewed all of them, I’ve seen a lot of the releases, and I can state unequivocally that I think Starbucks is the best of the bunch.

I feel this way for two reasons. For one, Starbucks usually uses reasonably unobtrusive photographic techniques. It drops the goofy fantasies of Hooters and prefers to simply show the models in various normal settings. Thus we get them at the beach, in pools, and doing other activities they enjoy. We also watch them pose for their pictorials. These settings may not sound exciting, but they let us check out the women without the interference of idiotic pretensions.

However, the main reason I like Starbucks so much results from the incredible quality of its models. We find 10 women here, and each one is a winner. I’ve never seen a multi-model Playboy video with such a high rate of success. Even my least favorite is still very satisfying, and as for the best… well, the best are as good as any Playboy models I’ve ever seen.

At the top of that list of top-notch babes we find the amazing Elizabeth Dindial. I loved her the second I saw her giddy, uninhibited shots in the magazine, and she only proves hotter in full motion. I especially love the scenes of Dindial as she frolics on San Diego’s Black Beach. She shows no signs of self-consciousness as she displays her flawless body for the camera. I’ve watched her segments many times but still can’t get over how incredible she looks.

Plenty of other excellent moments show up here as well. Pool segments with Kattie Bruce and Erica Loveless prove very satisfying, and there’s something interesting in each section of the DVD. I’ve watched this video more than any other Playboy product I own and continue to think it’s a simply stellar piece of work. It’s worth your purchase all on its own.

Obviously I don’t think Women of Wal-Mart (50 minutes) lives up to those standards, but it has some good moments too. It presents seven models in its vignettes. First we see the women as they pose for pictorials in which they strip from Wal-Mart style uniforms down to nothing, and then we watch them in various provocative settings. We also see the women at home or in other “normal” – ie, non-naked – places – and find some behind the scenes glimpses of their photo sessions. Those elements offer a semi-documentary feel.

I like this format. The show doesn’t dawdle too long on one setting; that can become a bit frustrating when we like what we see, but at least it means that we’re not stuck in unappealing content for too long. There’s decent coverage of all the sessions, so we’re not stuck with the nearly unwatchable footage seen in Hooters.

This format offers less variation than most, so the models themselves become even more important than usual. Tesha Mullen may have been chosen for the cover of the original Wal-Mart DVD, but she’s my least favorite model of the bunch. No points if you guess that this is because of her painfully overinflated implants; it looks like her chest is about the bust open. That’s a shame, as she’s really quite attractive otherwise.

A more conventional choice for me would be the unfortunately named Beth Beanblossom. She’s got a very nice girl-next-door look to her. Despite her implants, she actually feels like a real woman, not a professional model. This makes her more appealing and attractive.

Since I’m a brunette man, my affection for blonde Suzan Battalgia comes as something of a surprise. However, one glance at her spectacular body makes my rationale clear. I think Beanblossom is cuter, but Battaglia is just amazingly sexy; her body just can’t be beat. She also seems more natural in front of the camera, while Beanblossom is a little stiff at times.

As for the rest, they range from decent to pretty good. I hate Deborah Moss’s nipple rings but love everything else about her; she’s gorgeous and has a killer body. Katie McKee looks the most like an actual Wal-Mart employee; I don’t want to seem mean, but she definitely has a trailer park vibe about her. That said, she’s attractive and has a pretty nice body; she just needs to lose the white trash hairstyle and the tacky tattoo that runs up much of her right leg. Ultimately, I think Wal-Mart falls far short of the standards set by Starbucks, but it’s nonetheless a consistently satisfying program.

Girls of McDonald’s (47 minutes) proves that the massive fast food chain employs at least six attractive women across its thousands of locations. McDonald’s presents this sextet of cholesterol purveyors as they pose and chat about themselves.

We begin in Louisville, Kentucky with Cristy Creighton and then head to Vancouver with Amanda Bell. Erie, Pennsylvania’s Jennifer Takach follows and we subsequently meet Shawnna Getzinger from Bowling Green, Ohio. Next we watch Wanda Coallier of Burnaby, British Columbia and the program ends with Randy Occhialini from Winter Park, Florida.

Each model does some strip sequences in which they go from McDonald’s uniforms to the buff, and they also appear in “glamour” sessions as well. In addition to these, we get some nudity via personalized segments. Creighton goes bowling naked with her friend Sara, and the others do things like sit on the beach and whatnot.

Some of the comments from the models are unusually frank. For example, Bell talks about getting weirded out by guys fantasizing about her, and we also hear about problems with posing nude. During some of the studio sessions, we hear from Playboy personnel. We get remarks from Photographers Waldy Martens, George Georgiou, stylists Sonia Leal-Serafilm, Gerry Cantanni and Pat Tomlinson, and Playboy.com managing photo editor Chad Doering. Many Playboy products feature these documentary elements, but this one works better than most as we learn about the various style and photographic choices.

As always, each fan’s mileage will vary in regard to preferences among the models. I’m usually not big on blondes, but Creighton is nicely perky and natural. Though she’s a bit of a hick, she comes across as lively and fun. The shots with her attractive friend Sara are some of the DVD’s best.

Speaking of the best, Bell is definitely my choice for the program’s top model. She’s definitely prettiest, and she seems surprisingly mature for 19. A very sexy woman with a virtually flawless body, she’s a winner.

Inevitably, Takach represents a step down, but not a huge one. Her body is flawed for a Playboy model, as she seems lumpier than most. She also has an awkward style in front of the camera and gets stuck with some unflattering hairdos in the “glamour” sequences; she looks much better with a simple ponytail. I’m also not wild about her apparent implants, though I admit they’re so subtle I’m not positive she has them. Overall, Takach has her moments but seems pretty average for Playboy.

Essentially repeat all of that for Getzinger except for the remarks about the implants; she clearly sports her natural equipment. She’s not as pretty as Getzinger and could use some dental work, though I suppose some folks like gaps between teeth. Anyway, she also seems a bit uncomfortable in front of the camera, and she remains attractive but unmemorable.

Definitely the second hottest of the bunch, Coallier looks like a more appealing Paris Hilton. She’s very pretty and has a killer body, though I really don’t like her nipple bars. (Interestingly, the folks at Playboy airbrush out those bars for the DVD’s insert photos of Coallier.) I do wonder about her career options, though – apparently she aspires to be either an architect or a pro wrestler.

From there we end with easily the least appealing model of the bunch. Occhialini is the only one who looks like a professional – a pro stripper, that is. She has bad implants and an angular face that makes her not too pretty. Add to that her multiple piercings and tattoos and she ends the set on a negative note.

It’s too bad McDonald’s concludes with Occhialini, as I liked the fact it otherwise emphasizes women who look decidedly normal. Some Playboy “Women of” shows feature too many models who would seem too at home in a strip joint. I like amateurs and women who look like they really could live next door to you, not ones who appear to be professionals of some sort.

Except Occhialini, we get women with that amateur look in spades. This means that while they’re not as stunning as the usual models, they have a believable appeal beyond the unattainable perfection usually depicted. Unfortunately, this comes with one negative: the women seem decidedly less natural in front of the camera.

Indeed, most of them fail to display much personality in their segments. I see this as good and bad. On one hand, they come across as more real, but they also appear less interesting. Despite the drawbacks, I like this aspect of the program, partially because it makes Girls of McDonald’s something different. It’s not a great show, but it’s good as a whole.


The DVD Grades: Picture C/ Audio C+/ Bonus C-

Playboy Women of Retail appears mostly in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 on these single-sided, single-layered DVDs; those images have not been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. The sole exception comes from the 1.78:1 presentation of McDonald’s; that image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. For the record, Wal-Mart should have been anamorphic. In a bizarre choice, the main program is 4X3 but the supplements use anamorphic 16X9 footage! Why not give the whole program the anamorphic treatment?

In any case, given that this set covered four different releases, the discs offered a lot of quality variation. First and worst was Hooters. The oldest and ugliest of the bunch, I found it lacking in all ways. Sharpness was passable at best. The program occasionally manifested decent clarity, but usually the shots were fuzzy and ill-defined. The show also took on a rather rough, blocky feel at times. Jagged edges and shimmering came along with the package, and I also noticed a fair amount of edge haloes. Video artifacts were often noticed, as the set suffered from a noisy appearance. I also saw some specks and marks.

Colors were a mess. The scenarios went with largely stylized hues, but they looked poor nonetheless. The tones tended to be murky and heavy throughout the disc. Blacks were flat and muddy, while low-light shots seemed thick and dense. This was a consistently unattractive presentation that merited a weak “D+” for visuals.

Moving to Starbucks and Wal-Mart, matters improved but remained less than ideal. Both of those showed pretty similar visuals, so I figured I’d discuss them together. Sharpness seemed somewhat erratic. Most of the shots were reasonably concise and well-defined, but more than a few exceptions occurred. The program appeared acceptably crisp for the most part, but this failed to become a rule, as many scenes looked a bit loose and without great delineation. Minor examples of jagged edges and shimmering occurred, and only mild edge enhancement was apparent. Source flaws seemed absent, though video artifacting popped up during interior shots.

Colors stayed natural. The hues looked about the way I’d expect from a videotaped program: acceptably distinctive but not especially lively. The colors rarely faltered, but they also didn’t often seem terribly vivid. Blacks also were erratic, as some shots showed pretty deep dark tones but others were inkier. Shadow detail depended entirely on the shooting conditions and usually was moderately weak. Overall, the programs looked mostly average for this sort of piece and earned a “C”.

McDonald’s varied between bland and great but usually appeared pretty solid. For the most part, sharpness was positive. Wide shots came across as slightly soft, and a few scenes were intentionally fuzzy due to the visual motifs. Nonetheless, the snippets mainly were nicely defined and accurate. Occasional examples of jaggies and shimmering popped up despite the anamorphic transfer, and I also noticed some edge enhancement. No source flaws interfered with the presentation.

Of all the stylized elements, colors were affected the most heavily. Though the program usually went with natural tones, it occasionally went with more exotic tones. Overall, the hues came across as appropriately rendered and without too many concerns. Blacks seemed reasonably dense, while low-light shots showed good clarity. The visuals jumped around a little too much to excel consistently, but the program earned a good “B-” overall.

While we saw a fair amount of variation in picture quality across the four DVDs, audio was more consistent. Each disc featured Dolby Stereo 2.0 soundtracks that usually worked just fine. The four platters offered very similar soundfelds. Music dominated the tracks and offered pretty solid stereo imaging. The relentless score spread well across the forward channels and also was bolstered slightly by the rears. Speech stayed centered, and effects played a minor role. They were essentially inconsequential, as dialogue and especially music dominated the proceedings.

Audio quality was less consistent. To my surprise, Hooters presented arguably the strongest sound of the bunch. It showed the widest stereo imaging and the most vibrant music. This show used the songs to a more prominent degree than the others and featured less dialogue. I felt pretty impressed with the sound from that set.

The other three were on a par with each other. Speech consistently came across as reasonably natural and crisp, and I noticed no problems with edginess or intelligibility. Effects were a minor component, as they had little to do in the production. They were clean and accurate when they appeared. Music played a much more active - though still background - role. The score ran virtually constantly through the program and seemed decent. Because the music stayed under the surface most of the time, it didn’t boast great dynamics, but the score was perfectly fine nonetheless. Nothing exciting happened here, but the tracks were more than adequate for these kinds of programs.

When it comes to extras, I’ll have to discuss the supplements on a per-title basis. The oldest release, Hooters provides the skimpiest extras that merit a “D-“ on their own. A Slide Show presents 14 too small, too blurry shots from the show. It’s pretty worthless.

Previews adds some ads. This includes promos for Girls of the Internet, Girls of Radio, Hard Bodies, International Playmates, Girls of South Beach, Strip and Playmates in Paradise.

Starbucks presents a much stronger collection of extras. Indeed, some of these are worth the price of admission alone and I gave these supplements a “B” due to the quality of the material. The best elements come from the Playboy Music Clips. Though that moniker doesn’t sound promising, the end result is great. We find snippets for all 10 models. These last between two minutes, 47 seconds and three minutes, 16 seconds for a total of 29 minutes, 23 seconds.

What’s a “Playboy Music Clip”? Each one offers a montage of nude segments accompanied by music. Essentially these distill the best parts of the video without any of the tedious interview bits. This means lots of great footage without much filler. Of course, Elizabeth Dindial at the beach remains stunning, and we get lots of new shots of her. All of the segments have plenty to offer, though, and this half-hour or so of material really adds a lot to the DVD.

We hear more from the models in their Candid Interviews. These add comments from each of the women. The clips run between two minutes, 23 seconds and three minutes, two seconds for a total of 26 minutes, 22 seconds of material. Seriously – does anyone really want to hear more of these girls talking? The models talk about their lives and attitudes as well as how they feel about their Playboy experiences. We get nuggets such as “And everyone’s like, y’know” – yes, that’s a complete sentence as heard here. I will note that Bruce’s and Penny Lynn’s segments are more interesting than the others since they’re topless part of the time, and Dindial’s features some prolonged shots of her exposed nether regions. Otherwise these snippets are pretty forgettable.

A Photo Gallery shows stills of each model. This presents them in a running video format with about 30 seconds per woman. Most of these offer shots from the models’ professional sessions, though we also get a sexy “audition” photo of Dindial. It’s a quality collection of photos.

Finally, Starbucks ends with some Previews. It includes ads for Playboy Celebrity Photographers, Girls of Reality TV, Sex at 24 Frames Per Second, More Sexy Girls Next Door and Video Centerfold: 2003 Playmate of the Year Christina Santiago.

When I looked at the extras for Wal-Mart, I felt they deserved a “C”. They echo what we just saw on Starbucks. First comes a collection of Playboy Music Clips. These fill between two minutes, eight seconds and three minutes, eight seconds for a total of 18 minutes, 45 seconds. Given how much I liked the “Music Clips” for Starbucks, I looked forward to these. Unfortunately, they’re notably less interesting.

These consist of outtakes from the photo shoots. Unlike the Starbucks segments, we don’t find any shots of the women created exclusively for the DVD. That’s too bad, as I really liked those aspects of the Starbucks disc. The glimpses of the women on the photo sets are still good, but Starbucks raised expectations and makes this collection a disappointment.

The seven segments of Candid Interviews last between one minute, 30 seconds and three minutes, nine seconds for a total of 14 minutes, 57 seconds. These resemble the interviews found on the Starbucks DVD, as they present similar content, though there’s more of an emphasis on what they like in men. They don’t prove any more interesting, unfortunately.

As we head to the Photo Gallery, we find a collection of stills that can be navigated either of two ways. “Autoplay” runs the pictures as a slide show, or we can move through them on our own. The 42 photos come from the two different pictorial settings – strip and boudoir – and give us plenty of nice shots.

Wal-Mart ends with the ubiquitous trailers. We get ads for Inside the Sexy Girls Next Door House – Not-So-Private, The Ultimate Playmate Search, 2004 Video Playmate Calendar, Women of Starbucks and Playboy Celebrity Photographers.

We finish with a mediocre set of supplements for McDonald’s, a collection that earned a “D” for extras. Under the banner Best of Playboy’s Women/Girls of Series, we simply receive excerpts from three prior releases. This area presents segments for Women of Wal-Mart’s Tesha Mullen (seven minutes, 33 seconds), Women of Starbucks’ Signe Nordli (3:30) and Girls of Reality TV’s Sarah Jones (5:27). All of them come straight from those respective releases. This means they add up to little more than advertisements. This is a cheesy attempt at a “bonus”.

Next we get a Photo Gallery that presents pictures as stillframes. We get shots of the program’s models. Fans with access to Playboy’s “Cyber Club” will already have seen these – and more, as the compendium only represents a fraction of the available images. We find some nice pictures, but we should have gotten more of them.

The set also offers some trailers. This includes promos for 50 Years of Playmates, Sexiest Amateur Home Videos, America’s Sexiest Bartenders, Women of Fear Factor and the 2005 Video Playmate Calendar.

Some may fear that Playboy Women of Retail offers the DVD equivalent of “shovelware”: lots of substandard product packaged together at a bargain price to sucker in unsuspecting buyers. Happily, there’s a lot of high-quality material on display here, so you’ll find a lot to like. Only the Hooters disc is a relative dud, as the other three range from pretty good to stellar. Viva Starbucks, the best Playboy video I’ve ever seen.

Picture quality varies from crummy (Hooters) to pretty decent (McDonald’s) but is usually more than acceptable. Audio is perfectly adequate for this kind of material, and a few good extras pop up along the way. Again, the wonderful Starbucks set benefits from the strongest supplements. Playboy Women of Retail is a high caliber compilation that definitely deserves your time. If you don’t already own most or all of these discs, snap up this nice set.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.6666 Stars Number of Votes: 6
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Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main