Saving the world, one pop star at a time.
The notion of a double-identity used to be exotic, a thing for spies and criminally-insane masterminds. But then we got the internet, and now I would guess most people have several identities they cycle through on a daily basis: the person they are face-to-face, their Facebook life, their Instagram persona, etc. Of course, everyone does a version of this with or without the internet. Most of us probably don’t use exactly the same language around our parents and our friends, but the online world has exaggerated this tendency. So when something like Hannah Montana rolls around, it seems more obvious than scandalous that a teenager would have a double life. And the idea that she’s involved in the music industry, which is completely tied up with technologies like the internet, is perfect. So perfect that Sexina takes a similar story of pop-star double life to craft an homage/parody of current trends in music and past trends in spy/P.I. flicks. There’s a lot of love, and not much budget going on, but fans of a little bit of cheese will likely find something to appreciate.
Sexina (Lauren D’Avella) is a pop star who leads a double life as a private detective. In her pop incarnation she’s trying to stay ahead of Lance Canyon (Luis Jose Lopez, American Sniper), a music industry puppet, while her detective persona investigates the possibility of a cyborg boy band.
Sexina was made in 2007, so it’s hard to say if the film was inspired by Hannah Montana or if it’s simply a case of inspiration finding multiple outlets at once. However, whether there’s a direct connection or not, the comparison is strangely apt. Sexina isn’t about the high school life of a pop star, but the film does owe a significant debt to television. Though in some ways the film’s references are to cinema: the opening montage is pure James Bond, the secondary plot about a young girl bringing Sexina to her high school feels like Clueless. The fact that it’s operating on such a low budget gives it a 60s/70s TV vibe. So, though the opening montage tries to ape the James Bond franchise, it comes off much more like a Get Smart level of absurdity/goofiness. This is only aided by the fact that Adam West plays the main villain, which adds Batman ’66 to the film’s list of flavors.
And that list of references should give you a pretty good idea what you’re getting into with Sexina. It feels like a gentle, nostalgic trip through some of our favorite tropes from detective/spy TV combined with a disdain for contemporary boy-band culture (a target that even by 2007 was a bit dated). Even the film’s nods to drug culture and the over-sexualization of pop stars (including a weird dialogue about the size of a guy’s penis) feel more goofy than sleazy. The film honestly reminded me of all those Misty Mundae soft-core genre parodies like The Girl Who Shagged Me but with less nudity and more competency (or at least with fewer instances of a random dude in a gorilla suit showing up to ruin things).
This DVD is fine too. The film’s 1.78:1 anamorphic transfer looks like a fine contemporary low-budget video production. Detail is pretty strong, colors are appropriately saturated, and black levels are surprisingly deep and consistent. It doesn’t have the flair of a big budget film, but Sexina‘s look might be its strongest aspect. The film’s stereo audio does fine as well, with Davy Jones’ opening song and the film’s dialogue sounding clear and well balanced.
Extras open with footage of Davy Jones (of the Monkees) discussing the recording of the title song as well as some footage of him performing the song in the studio. We also get three and a half minutes of bloopers/outtakes, a single deleted scenes, and four minutes of behind the scenes footage. The longest bonus is seven minutes of Chris Carter playing the blues, an extension of his involvement in the film. The film’s trailer (along with a few other Wild Eye releases) is also included.
Damning with faint praise is about the best I can muster for Sexina. Its heart is in the right place, and a surprising number of elements work in the film’s favor. But it’s still a low budget spoof of decades-old trends we’ve seen lampooned and recycled more times than any of us could count.
Sexina is goofy fun for those who like self-consciously “bad” movies. It’s got some silly humor, a bit of intrigue, and its heart in the right place. This DVD is fine, but probably not for those looking for more traditional entertainment.