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.