Synopsis by Mark Deming
This independent drama takes an unexpectedly light and emotionally sensitive approach to a potentially controversial subject -- a teenager taking up a career as a prostitute. Sixteen-year-old Jake (Tara Subkoff) is a pretty but troubled girl who has been abandoned by her mother. Needing a place to stay, she shows up on the doorstep of her sister Darlene (Kristy Swanson) and begs her to take her in. Darlene refuses, and Jake is left with nowhere to go. Marci (Sandra Bernhard), Darlene's next door neighbor, takes pity on Jake and gives her a meal and a place to stay for the night. The next morning, Marci heads off for work and Jake tags along to discover that Marci manages a massage parlor. Jake is a bit naive about what goes on at such places, but after meeting Marci's charges -- Bambi (Sahara Lotti), Coco (Loretta Devine), and Teddy (Renee Humphrey) -- she catches on that the women are offering their male clientele more than a simple rubdown. Needing money, Jake asks Marci for a job; Marci says no, since Jake is underage, but after much begging and pleading, Marci agrees under the condition that Jake make herself scarce when Jean (Susan Barnes), the owner, comes around. Jake becomes friendly with Bambi, Coco, and Teddy, who show her the ropes of her new "career" and let her stay at their communal apartment. Soon Jake is making a good living, and Darlene is impressed enough to get a job of her own at the parlor. However, Darlene doesn't get along with the other women any better than she does with Jake, and when Jake's friends get on Darlene's bad side, she turns Jake in for working underage, which leaves everyone out in the cold.
surrogate-parent, maternal, massage [therapeutic], spa, abandonment, friendship