Cookies & Cream (2008)

DVD Cover (Celebrity Video Distribution)
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Ranked #7,819
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Jace Nicole
Jace Nicole
Ardie Fuqua
Ardie Fuqua
Naama Kates
Naama Kates
Brian Ackley
Brian Ackley
Chris Riquinha
Chris Riquinha
Review by Chad
Added: April 22, 2009
Cookies & Cream is one of those movies that showed up in my mailbox unannounced, and due to the subject matter, I sort of put off watching it for a week. With no prior background knowledge of the film, I looked at it like this: it's a romantic drama that deals with the world of pornography, so obviously, it's going to be heavily centered on one of the two aspects. Therefore, it was either going to be a skin flick or it was going to be a drama dealing with the love life of the leading lady - revelation of the year, right? Well, the problem that I encountered was that I wasn't in the mood for yet another skin flick (they do get monotonous after a while), and in terms of romantic dramas... well, I'm not a huge fan of the typical storylines that the genre offers, and thus, a film has to be exceptionally well done to grab my attention. I finally sat down with the film today, and I found two things: this is not a skin flick in any way, and it's one of those rare dramas that I not only enjoyed, but downright loved.

We begin with an introduction to Carmen (Jace Nicole), a racially-mixed mother of an eight-year-old daughter who makes a living in the world of adult entertainment. Being an extremely attractive woman, she's able to do well in the world of pornographic movies and live webshows even if she doesn't particularly enjoy the line of work, but this comes with a price: it's damned hard to find a man who is fine with her job and who can still treat her like a woman instead of a porn star. Sure, she could quit, but why should she? She makes better money doing this than she could anywhere else, she has a daughter to take care of, and as she explains to one potential suitor, what would happen if she gave up that money for a normal life and the man then decided that he didn't want her anymore? She'd be out of a job and on her own with nobody to turn to.

The storyline gets interesting when Carmen meets Dylan (Brian Ackley), a man who is perfectly fine with the fact that she already has a child and who also treats her right. The two immediately hit it off and have a couple of fantastic dates, but there's just one problem: Carmen hasn't told him what she does for her day job yet, and knowing how her previous boyfriends have reacted, she doesn't want to ruin yet another relationship by spilling the beans. Obviously, the truth will have to eventually come out, but how will her latest significant other react?

As I mentioned up above, this is far from a skin flick; in fact, there isn't even a split second of nudity or simulated sex to be found throughout the running time. Sure, there are some suggestive moments, but nothing is actually shown to those of us watching at home. This shocked me, to be blunt about it, but I feel that it actually helped the film immensely. Given the storyline and the plot twists that come up, it would have been easy to slide a sex scene or a striptease into the affair (and most filmmakers would have done one or both), but in my humble opinion, doing this would have cheapened the film. Would I have liked to have seen Jace Nicole nude? Sure... any man who sees her face and body would agree that the "extremely attractive" descriptor wasn't a plot point made up for the movie but a cold, hard fact. However, given the heartfelt nature of the film and the emphasis on the decisions that she must make, throwing in a quick sex scene or a few glimpses of flesh would have seemed exploitative and would not have aided the film in the least. I applaud the filmmakers for wisely avoiding that path.

Another thing that surprised me was the complete lack of attention paid to the obvious: here's a mixed girl dating a white guy. In most films that deal with romantic dilemmas, this would have more than likely come up once or twice in the dialogue, but in this film, it's a complete non-issue; in fact, you could have swapped out the leading lady and her child for some white folks and nothing in the film would have needed to have been changed. I was very satisfied with the decision to leave race off of the table, as I instantly expected this to come up once I saw that the main romantic interest was white. However, it's a very cliché plot point in this day and age, so the decision to focus on the characters as people instead of "mixed girl" and "white guy" was extremely satisfying.

The final pieces of the puzzle that just clicked into place was Jace Nicole and, to a slightly lesser extent, Brian Ackley in the leading roles. I've always said that you can have the best story in the world, but when it comes to the drama genre, putting lackluster actors in the leading roles will absolutely kill a film. That was not the case here, and not only was Nicole great in her role, but she was actually downright perfect. She handles the character with ease, she's able to express the required emotions flawlessly, and she keeps us watching to see where the story is going to go next and what situation she will soon be finding herself in. This was her first appearance in any film according to IMDb, and if it's any indication as to her level of talent, keep an eye on her. Ackley was also quite good in his role and I can't say a single negative thing about him, but it's obvious from the start that Nicole is the real star here.

The only negative thing that I can say about the film is that there are moments where it suffers from some pretty atrocious dubbing and audio editing, but seeing as how this was a screener copy and this problem could easily be fixed before it goes to DVD or festivals, I can't very well hold it against the movie. Aside from that, I'm going to have to say that this was about as close to perfection as a film could get. It features a damned fine storyline, perfect acting from the leads, and an enjoyable soundtrack that ranges from opera to sixties surf-pop. This is a film that falls far outside of my preferred genres, but it definitely won me over - those of you who actually enjoy drama films more than me will likely get even more out of this offering. 9/10 for the screener copy, 10/10 if the audio issues are fixed.
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