Screenshots: On our Tumblr
Source: 1920×1080 downloaded from New Sensations subscription site
Pleasure ♀-, Passion ♀, Balance ✓+
Although she has written several scripts for movies in the New Sensations Romance series, starting with Dear Abby, and though she was credited as Assistant Director on both Love, Marriage, and Other Bad Ideas and The Friend Zone, this is the first movie in the series that Jacky St James has directed. It is also the second movie she has co-directed with Eddie Powell (the previous one being the fantastic Torn). The script here was also written by St James (though the box cover lists both her and Powell as writers).
There's a way in which reviewing this movie is almost unfair. What movie wants to have to follow The Sexual Liberation of Anna Lee? What movie could? But the New Sensations Romance movies (the ones actually marketed under that label) have always been somewhat lighter fare, so we will try not to compare this one to any of the movies in the Erotic Stories series.
There are really two main stories in Second Chances. The first is one of redemption. Dean (Chad White) played a really nasty prank on Madison (Carter Cruise) as part of a fraternity initiation their freshman year. His current girlfriend Bethany (Allie Haze) is now attempting to out-do him, and yet at the same time he is attempting to atone for what he did, in the first instance, by making an anonymous contribution to a pet-related charity that Madison has since started. (St James's dog Boz thus makes yet another appearance.) The second story involves Madison's friendship with her boss (Brendon Miller), which has all the marks of a romance but none of the physical contact. And there is a sub-plot involving two of Madison's friends (played by Jenna Ross and Logan Pierce).
So it's an engaging story, with much to follow, and with both funny and sad parts. And a lot of time is spent on the story, too: over an hour overall. In fact, we are 44 minutes into the movie before the second sex scene occurs, and the first one isn't that long.
Speaking of sex scenes, the movie does tend to follow the common sort of story-sex-story-sex-story formula. I.e., whatever expilcit sex there is tends to be set apart from the rest of the movie
(unlike, say, in The Sexual Liberation of Anna Lee). But the scenes are well integrated into the story, anyway, and none of them feels gratuitious.
Strictly as sex scenes, the first two are merely good, but the other two are absolutely terrific, especially the last one. Miller and Cruise are completely convincing as long-attracted friends finally having sex with each other. And there's a moment in the third when Dean tells Madison, "I wish I didn't like you so much"---knowing what he is about to do to her—that is really moving. He knows, and yet he doesn't have the courage not to do it.
Carter Cruise is terrific here, but the highlight of the movie, for us, is Brendon Miller. He looks like such a tough guy, and he is sometimes cast that way, but here (as also in Love and Loss) he plays a much more complex character: a guy who is really sensitive emotionally and who plays an important role in Madison's growth and recovery. There's some really great busting of expectations and stereotypes. So we loved both his character and his performance, and he deserves to be nominated (at least) for some awards.
So, overall, we really enjoyed this movie and would be happy to watch it again. We were tempted, in fact, to give it our five-star, maximum rating. But the camera work during the sex scenes is not as good as we have come to expect from New Sensations Romance. It's not bad, by any means. In fact, there are some wonderful shots early in the scenes, and we loved the intimate way the last scene was shot. But once the couple start fucking, the woman becomes very much the focus, and we all but lose her male partner. We also didn't think Second Chances quite stood up to the standard set by Dear Abby, which remains our favorite among the New Sensations Romance releases.
But it is a really wonderful movie, and we'd rank it right behind Dear Abby.
The actors and actresses in Second Chances won several awards at the 2015 XBiz Awards, including Best Actress in Feature Movie for Carter Cruise, Best Supporting Actor for Chad White, Best Supporting Actress, for Jessa Rhodes, and Best Non-Sex Acting Performance for Jacky St James. Carter Cruise also won the award for Best Actress at the 2015 AVN Awards, and the movie itself won for Best Romance Movie.
Scene 1: Allie Haze and Chad White (♀♂)
Female Orgasm: Maybe, Cumshot: Stomach
Pleasure ✓, Passion ♀, Balance ✓
Bethany (Allie Haze) and her boyfriend (Chad White) have sex in her room, at her insistence.
There is a pretty good connection between them, and they seem to be having the sort of fun you'd expect from a college-aged couple. She seems to have a good time, and she may cum, but we are not sure.
The camera work is all right, and there is a pretty good mix of shots, but the focus is much more on her once they start fucking.
Scene 2: Jessa Rhodes and Logan Pierce (♀♂)
Female Orgasm: Yes, Cumshot: Stomach
Features: Rough Sex
Pleasure ♀, Passion ♀, Balance ✓
Olivia (Jessa Rhodes) said she would make out with Lucas (Logan Pierce) if he could find out who made a large anonymous contribution to Madison's charity. He eventually does find out, so she has to pay up.
The interaction between them before they kiss is very sweet. And, after the first kiss, he gets up and leaves, the bet having been paid. Stunned, she calls him back, and they have sex.
There is a very good connection between them, and they do a really good job of carrying their characters into the sex, acting very much as long time friends. She is meant to be much more experienced than him in the story—he plays a very geeky guy—and that, too, is continued. The relationship between them really adds to the scene, overall, and the sex itself is quite passionate and convincing. We did have the sense that it went on a little long, but that is probably because of the issues with the photography that we are about to mention.
The camera work is generally pretty good, but she is again more the focus than he is, and we mostly lose him when they are fucking. There is also something wrong about the fact that she seems expected to keep up a running commentary, whereas he says very little by comparison.
It's for these reasons that we can only rate the scene four stars. It otherwise would merit a higher rating.
Scene 3: Carter Cruise and Chad White (♀♂)
Female Orgasm: Multiple, Cumshot: Back
Pleasure ♀, Passion ♀, Balance ♀
This is Dean's memory of having sex with Madison.
There is of course a nasty background to this, since we know he is going to betray her soon after. But there is also something sad about it, since we also know, from what has just happened, that he had no idea how much he would hurt her. "I wish I didn't like you so much", he says at the end. All of which gives it a very tragic feel.
There is a really great connection between them, and they do a terrific job acting their parts through the scene. There is a lot of smiling and giggling at the beginning, and the sex is appropriately passionate. Both of them seem to enjoy themselves, and she cums at least a couple times and seems on the edge much of the time.
The camera work is better than in the first two scenes. There are more interesting sorts of shots, and there are nice closeups of his face as she sucks him. But we do lose him at times, again, when they are fucking, especially when they are doggy style but also when they are spooning. There are some nice shots of his face, though.
The sex is so hot and passionate, and convincing, that we have to overlook the problems with the photography.
Scene 4: Carter Cruise and Brendon Miller (♀♂)
Female Orgasm: Yes, Cumshot: Pussy
Features: Cunnilingus Orgasm
Pleasure ♀, Passion ♀, Balance ♀
Madison and Dean finally get together. They kiss in the doorway, and he asks her, "Are you sure?" "Yes!" "Are you sure?" "Yes!" That'd be enthusiastic consent.
There is a great connection between them, and the sex is extremely passionate. We particularly liked the way they started having sex in the foyer, then moved towards the bedroom. That felt very natural. The sex itself is extremely hot and natural, as well, and she has at least a couple orgasms.
The camera work has a very intimate feel, and is more varied than in the other scenes, possibly because of the variation in location. We do lose him, again, when they are fucking, especially once they make it to his bedroom.