Dana Plato's soft-core porn feature, Different Strokes: The Story of Jack and Jill... and Jill, is misunderstood. "Dana really wanted the lesbian thing to be real, not exploitative," remembers Diane Anderson-Minshall, who interviewed Plato about the film for the lesbian magazine Girlfriends. "She wanted it to be a statement, not just another career move everyone would make fun of." Unfortunately, the people at DanaPlato.Net are positioning it as "Plato's pussy videos" with the tagline "From child TV star to adult porn star fucking her way into your bedroom."
The video's cover promises a "steamy erotic love story," but is it? Porn lovers may be disappointed.
The film opens with Plato's female co-star, Landon Hall, watching the male lead play the piano. The camera pans slowly over his ringed hand and the sheet music to stop on Hall, in a blue bikini, leaning on the piano, trying to communicate something with her eyes. You quickly get the uneasy feeling this movie is going to have more plot than the usual porno.
The piano scene does lead to sex, but not with Dana Plato. Instead, there's R-rated footage of "Jack," who's a photographer, making love to Landon Hall. Dana arrives later, playing a New York art director who's come to help Jack in his next photo shoot. They've got an early shoot the next day, so in a typical porn plot device, Jack suggests, hey, "Why don't you spend the night?" But then he makes a fatal mistake. He leaves the two women alone. Wrong! Everyone knows what's going to happen next...
"You're not wearing a bathing suit!"
"Nah, I didn't pack one..."
There's a long shot of Dana diving into the pool naked. Then there are shots of her through ever-shifting prisms of water. Hundreds of frustrated men reach for their remotes to hit the frame-by-frame button. But a minute later, Plato stands up and reveals her breasts.
Landon stares, bites her lip, dives into the pool, says something generic like "Ooo, it's chilly," and then removes her bikini. Oboe and piano music begins, and, of course, a montage. But in a radical departure for a porn film -- nothing happens! (Say, that is arty!) Instead, the film shows Dana calling her lesbian lover in New York, who doesn't pick up the phone because, of course: She's busy with another lesbian!
Guess there's nothing left to do but... take a shower!
This seems like an obvious setup. Landon Hall is already taking a shower when suddenly, there's a knock on the door. Dana had been showering elsewhere in the house, but wouldn't you know it, there's no soap! She swings by (no pun intended) to pick some up (no pun intended) and a transparent conversation ensues.
"Oh, wow, this is a great shower. It's huge! I have a little bitty one back in New York."
"You know, if you want, there's plenty of room in here. You could join me."
"Oh, I'd love to. You wouldn't mind?"
More pause-button fun ensues, but little is revealed. Instead, there's another arty montage: mostly scenes from the pool, with one flash of a fantasy where Dana kisses Landon's breast.
Not to give away the plot, but let's just say the ladies' stars start lining up. Landon has a fight with her boyfriend, then runs into Dana, who asks "Would you mind dropping me off at my hotel?"
Landon's reply? "You're not going to stay in a hotel tonight. You're gonna come home with me."
Of course, they end up in bed together. There are candles all around, and they're both naked. "It feels good to cuddle like this, doesn't it?" Landon asks. Dana starts petting her hair... But this scene is disappointing, too. Landon runs her fingertip over Dana's arm. Dana drags her fingertips across her breasts. There's a kiss. Dana pets her hair again. Kiss. Kiss. Oboe. And that's it.
Then there's a jump to the next morning, when Dana's ass is sticking out from the covers. The complicated threesome depicted in the movie's promotional poster never occurs. Instead, the film cuts to the two women running with a picnic basket in the sun, the synthesizer switches to harpsichord sounds, and we're treated to a song written by the film's director.
I want to know, what you think of me
I want to know, what you're feeling
Maybe it's just me, but I thought this movie had more potential when they were naked in bed together.
Dana Plato told Girlfriends the movie was "The worst piece of work I've ever done." It could've been better, but the director was "not an actor's director." (His next film was Bikini Med School.) "When there is no chemistry, no consistency, it's hard to do a good scene."
But for all the notoriety the film caused her, it could be worse. Earlier this year, her former TV co-star Gary Coleman revealed to US magazine that he was still a virgin.
See Also: Dana Plato's Corpse
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