Skip to main content

Women in Trouble

Women in Trouble

Imagine this situation: you are a thug sent to a rich man’s house who owes your employer a lot of money. You go inside, beat him up, and then you notice a hooker getting out the door and taking a nice good look at face. Later that same day, you and your partner track down said hooker to a lesbian bar and abduct her right outside the front door. You put her unconscious body in the back of the car; you turn around and notice that your partner is lying unconscious near the trash container. You walk towards him, hear a clicking sound, look to your left and see a woman pointing a shotgun at you. She then says the following words: “How much do you like your balls?” I would put my hands up too.

This is a scene from Sebastian Gutierrez’s film Women in Trouble and I have only one question: where did this guy come from? How many guys out there have written a script where the cast is almost entirely female, the dialogue can be both funny and smart, and the characters include a porn star, hookers, a psychologist, a stewardess, a bartender, a drug-addled British rock star, and a Canadian masseuse? The plot keeps all of these characters connected in a somewhat complicated storyline like in Crash or Babel except without any preaching about morality and racism.

The central character is a famed porn star called Elektra Luxx, played by Carla Gugino. Her day is going from bad to worse. First she learns that she is pregnant (I am surprised that she was surprised) and is then stuck in an elevator with Doris (Connie Britton) who shouldn’t scream for help when stuck in a metal box since it wastes oxygen. Doris’ sister, Addy (Caitlin Keats), has troubles of her own. She is having an affair with Travis (TV’s Simon Baker), the husband of Maxine her psychologist (Sarah Clarke). Unfortunately Addy’s daughter, Charlotte (Isabella Gutierrez), is also a patient of Maxine is aware of the affair and decides to spill the beans. In a fit of rage, Maxine backs out of her driveway with the intention of finding the nearest bar and hits Holly Rocket (Adrienne Palicki), a hooker and a sometimes co-star of Elektra Luxx. Still with me?

This may sound complicated, but it all makes sense and there are some really memorable moments. Key among them is a hilarious segment during the end credits when Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a blogger called Bert Rodriguez who is interviewing Elektra and Holly for an adult website. I don’t who visits his site but its users have some really odd questions even for porn-users. What the fuck does Rocky III have to do with porn?

Another scene that will stay in my memory for a while is the reunion of Josh Brolin and Marley Shelton from Grindhouse. Shelton plays Cora, a stewardess who decides to join Brolin, playing British rocker Nick Chapel, in the Mile-High Club. It starts well, but as in all flights, passengers should return to their seats when the place encounters turbulence.

I also have to give kudos to Adrianne Palicki for perpetuating the stereotype of the ditzy blonde with her portrayal of aspiring porn star Holly Rocket. This character confuses S.T.D with P.H.D, seems to have a really hard time thinking hard, and has a really bizarre/semi-touching reason why she has trouble going down with a woman.

Isabella Gutierrez’ Charlotte, the 13-year-old in therapy, has some strange quirks of her own. She believes she can talk to ghosts and chain-smokes imaginary cigarettes. Like all children, she has the ability to ask insightful questions: “Why do they call it adult movies if they are so juvenile?” Touché.

I doubt this is a 100% accurate look at the adult industry, or at any industry for that matter, but I don’t care. It was fun watching these characters bump into each other and have conversations that were sometimes hilarious, sometimes deeply emotional. I would like to see more of these characters and my wish may be granted soon. Gutierrez has recently completed a sequel entitle Elektra Luxx, which I assume will focus on Carla Gugino’s character. That’s fine by me, just as long as I get to see more of Holly Rocket and Bert Rodriguez.

B+

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Empire Magazine (2008) Greatest Movies List - #70: Stand by Me

Another clear influence on Stranger Things, Rob Reiner’s Stand by Me (1986) portrays American kids from a lost era in which they could go on an adventure away from home. Nowadays if children go missing for more than an hour parents try to locate them using cell phone apps, but in the story written by Stephen King four boys in 1959 Oregon go walking in the woods during a long weekend to look for, of all things, a dead body. Their lives are sometimes at risk, they have no way of communicating with their parents, but they will definitely have a story to remember for the rest of their lives.
For many North Americans adults this movie fondly reminded them of a time in their childhood despite the inherent danger. Not so for me since, first of all, there was no time in my childhood when I could possibly go out of the house for more than three hours without my mom getting in her car to go look for me. The there is the fact that I spent a good chunk of my childhood living in Chile and Peru, an…

Empire Magazine (2008) Greatest Movies List - #77: Spartacus

Spartacus (1960) is an interesting movie in Stanley Kubrick's filmography because it doesn’t really feel like a Stanley Kubrick movie. I don’t exactly know why, but his signature style doesn’t seem to be present unlike in classics such as The Shining, A Clockwork Orange, or Dr. Strangelove. It does however feel like one of those big sword-and-sandals epics in which you have British thespians acting as Roman politicians with the occasional big battle sequence. In that respect it is spectacular and features Kirk Douglas at his best as the titular hero.
The story of the rebel slave Spartacus has inspired a bloody and sexy TV series (so far unseen by me, but I hear it’s great) and the story behind how it was made is one of those cases of life imitating art. The Bryan Cranston film Trumbo tells how screenwriter Dalton Trumbo was blacklisted in Hollywood during the 1950s for his communist beliefs and had to rebel against the system by writing screenplays for cheap movies under a fake nam…

Empire Magazine (2008) Greatest Movies List - #79: The Thin Red Line

I once saw an interview in which Christopher Plummer said that what Terrence Malick needs is a writer. He was referring to his experience shooting The New World, which saw his role considerably reduced. The same happened to a much greater extent with Malick’s war movie The Thin Red Line (1998), which saw the screen time of many movie stars reduced to mere minutes amid a 170-minute running time. However you have to hand it to the guy: he knows how to make anything look beautiful, including the carnage of war.
Malick’s movie came out the same year as Saving Private Ryan, so I think that year I had my fill of ultra violent war films and was no too interested in seeing it. Sixteen years later I finally caught up to it on Netflix, but in hindsight the big screen might have been a better option since this is a very visual story. The plot is pretty loose, following one American soldier and sometimes some of his brothers in arms as they make their way through World War II in the Pacific theat…