A good look at men dealing with women and a good look at the supposedly soft side of porn doesn’t make a good looking film
Carla Gugino is Elektra Luxx, the most spectacularly successful porn actress of all time. Not only has she sold millions of DVDs exploring the outer limits of societal taboos but she is actually immortalized in sex toy store everywhere by the sale of a functional plastic copy of her, well, talent. She is joined by a half dozen spectacularly sexy women in showing that although beauty may be skin deep, porn is the territory of the soul.
OK, maybe that’s getting a little carried away. The fact is that writer/director Sebastian Gutierrez is close with this good-natured look at the sensitive side of money grubbing filth but there just isn’t enough story there to make the grade. These women are sensitive and share some great thoughts. Especially they share thoughts that would be great for men to know. Maybe that’s the point of the film: a morally tale for men couched in a harem of semi-naked models plucked from the pages of every sex fantasy magazine you ever knew.
Given that approach the screenplay does have some genuinely funny moments. The ditsy sidekick who finds herself behind the car that is backing up twice in one day is not bad humor, as dumb as it sounds. She is trying desperately to make the grade in the porn film business which is surprising hard if, as Woody Allen said, it is hard to have sex without the nausea. It appears even the best looking of professions have their drawbacks.
The film also has the teenage girl who sees the truth when the parents don’t and as such is a sales job for teenagers as much as a plea for understanding of the fairer sex. The men in the film are pretty much walking dildos and this may partially explain the flatness of the screenplay. There is no conflict in the movie. The characters are not varied and there is no one that inspires either hearty hate or love. No yin and yang, only women who deal with issues and men who cause issues.
Flashy cinematography produces an inimitable LA look of unabashed glossiness that somehow remains even when the two crushingly beautiful actresses are forced to disrobe to avoid heat stroke when they are trapped in the elevator for hours. Actually, if the intent was to deliver to men a subliminal message while showing erogenous scenes of partly clad women this film is pretty durn good.
This film may be the first of the big time for writer/director Gutierrez but he may also find that there is only so far one can go with satirizing B films that do a better job of satirizing themselves. At some point there has to be something more in the way of character development. It is OK for the characters to be thick but their depiction has to be sharp. Some audiences might pay for 92 minutes of great legs in high heels but that number will be limited. We hope to see the next film from this film maker taking the next step up, or down, into some truly creative territory.
Written and Directed by: Sebastian Gutierrez
Starring: Carla Gugino
Release: November 13, 2009
MPAA: Rated R for sexual content including strong dialogue, and for language
Runtime: 92 minutes