Director: Thomas Paine
Vinegar Syndrome

Vinegar Syndrome gives viewers who like a little substance with their porn a sterling new DVD of CORPORATE ASSETS.

The Madame of a corporate harem that rewards the company's top salesmen, Jill (Tish Ambrose, MIDNIGHT HEAT) has everything money could buy except her own freedom. Under the thumb of her executive boss J.W. (Robert Kerman, CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST) and his brutal enforcer Louie (Herschel Savage, SEXUAL HEIGHTS), Jill's only escape is in her twelve year correspondence with pen pal Winston (Eric Edwards, THE VIRGIN AND THE LOVER) who had been a POW in Vietnam with her late brother. Although he only knows her through her letters as a secretary, he has professed his love for her but she dares not encourage him lest he find out what she really does. Life in the harem is becoming unbearable, however, with Tanya (Amber Lynn, IN AND OUT IN BEVERLY HILLS) carrying on a forbidden affair with their limo driver Billy (Francois Papillon, TOO NAUGHTY TO SAY NO) and Morgana (Rachel Ashley, SHAUNA: EVERY MAN'S FANTASY) becoming ruthless in her desire for advancement (including exposing the heart condition of top salesman Harry Reems and costing him the job he desperately needs so his wife can keep up with the Joneses). After new girl Babette (Sheri St. Claire, SUPER SEX) is brutalized and humiliated by Louie to the point that she regresses to a childlike state, Jill realizes that she needs Winston's love and encourages him to come visit her. Winston, however, is still tormented by nightmares of his internment and has not been able to get it up since then but he is encouraged by his bubble-blowing ersatz shrink friend Phil (Nick Ransom, ORIFICE PARTY) to take a chance on meeting Jill in the flesh. Their happy reunion is short however as J.W. finds out about it through Louie's spying and arranges for Winston to discover Jill's real corporate responsibilities. Although he is initially repulsed by Jill's lies, Winston soon realizes that Jill is a virtual prisoner and her jailers have underestimated the supposedly simple park ranger when warning him off her.

An 1980s epic of yuppie vice and giant hair, CORPORATE ASSETS did not need much in the way of ambition what with the presences of hardcore royalty Edwards, Lynn, Savage, Kerman, and Reems along with special appearances by Paul Thomas (EROTIC ADVENTURES OF CANDY) and Jamie Gillis (THE OPENING OF MISTY BEETHOVEN) as two presidential advisors nicknamed "Dildo" and "Diaper" by the girls for reasons soon revealed (MARILYN AND THE SENATOR's William Margold also has a cameo). The film, however, surprises by placing a greater emphasis on the characters over the sex scenes which are still explicit but many of them dare to be joyless and even unpleasant. We find ourselves caring about Jill and Winston and genuinely concerned about what might happen to them, along with Tanya and Billy even though the threat against them is largely offscreen. Edwards and Ambrose are up to the performance demands of the roles from the emotional scenes to the acrobatic sex scenes, while Kerman and Savage are suitably slimy. One can assume that not all of director Thomas Paine's subsequent efforts like THE BUTT SISTERS DO DETROIT continued in the sensitive vein of his debut.

Restored in 2K from the original 35mm camera negatives, CORPORATE ASSET's progressive, anamorphic widescreen transfer is clean and colorful, looking glossy during the scenes at Jill's mansion, warm and rustically grainy in scenes set in Winston's cabin, and at their best during the flatly and evenly-lit office scenes. The Dolby Digital 1.0 mono track is in fine condition with dialogue, music, and gunfire coming through without any glaring issues. Edwards appears in a brand new interview (10:59) in which he recalls liking the film because it presented opportunities for some heavy-duty acting. He recalls the cast with affection, although he also provides some disquieting information about the last time he spoke to Reems a few days before his death. The film's theatrical trailer (3:26) is also included. (Eric Cotenas)