It’s always interesting how sometimes movie ideas seem to come in twos. For
example, in recent years we’ve had two aliens-attacking-Los Angeles movies
(Skyline, Battle: LA), two loser mall security guards (Paul Blart:
Mall Cop, Observe & Report), two Truman Capote bio-pics (Capote,
Infamous), two remakes of a classic 70s disaster film (Poseidon,
the TV miniseries The Poseidon Adventure) and two comets heading
towards earth (Armageddon, Deep Impact.)
It turns out that Elektra Luxx is the first of two low budget films
coming out which take bemused looks at aging former porn stars trying to get
used to life after leaving the industry and running across a nerdy guy who
is their biggest fan – beating Meet Monica Velour with Kim Cattrall
to the multiplexes by three weeks.
However, just because the basic storylines are similar, I find it hard to
believe that Velour will be as offbeat and surreal – which is
meant as a compliment. Elektra Luxx is an intriguingly light and
off-kilter look at a porn world that is usually portrayed as dark, sordid
and dehumanizing. Sure, that stuff is here, but it’s only a small part of a
movie which – as odd as this may seem – actually makes pornography seem
eclectic, innocent and just a bit sad.
There is very little nudity in the film (a single naked bottom) and not much
more sex. Elektra Luxx isn’t about titillation; it is about the
sheer ridiculousness of the world.
In fact, I get the feeling that writer/director Sebastian Gutierrez is
trying his damnedest to show what would happen if Pedro Almodovar made a
movie about the LA porn world. It’s not always a successful approximation,
but it’s an interesting attempt.
Beyond the inherent ridiculousness of the porn world, Gutierrez mixes in
private detectives, dead rock stars, nerdy bloggers, best-selling novelists,
estranged couples, venture capitalists, bi-curious call girls, self-help
gurus, precocious young teen girls, community center students and a naked
guy in an elevator. Julianne Moore even shows up in an unbilled cameo as
the Virgin Mary in what may or may not be a dream sequence.
As you can see, Elektra Luxx takes its quirkiness very seriously.
is the sequel to a
little-seen 2009 movie called Women in Trouble, which honestly I have
not caught so I can’t really compare the two. However, for a small film it
had a surprisingly strong cast, including Carla Gugino, Josh Brolin, Simon
Baker, Sarah Clarke, Connie Britton, Adrianne Palicki, Emmanuelle Chriqui,
Marley Shelton and a cameo by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. In fact, Gutierrez
plans on it being a trilogy – with the final upcoming episode being called
Women in Ecstacy.
Many of the characters return in Elektra Luxx and Gordon-Levitt’s
role was beefed up a bit – however several others do not return, including
Baker, Clarke, Britton and Brolin, who only appears in the sequel in
Gugino returns as the title character of the new film – the star of such
classic “adult” films as There Will Be Semen, Call Me Lightning and
Even Reverse Cowgirls Get the Blues. Elektra has decided to leave the
business because she has become pregnant. She is settling into her new
endeavor – teaching sexual techniques to uptight suburban housewives at a
local community center – when an uptight woman (Marley Shelton)
shows up with some stolen
songs which Elektra Luxx’s late drummer boyfriend had written about the porn
star. It seems the woman had an affair with the drummer and now feels
horribly guilty, so she wants the adult actress to seduce her fiancé so that
they will be even.
At the same time, the film takes side trips to visit a pretentious porn
blogger (Gordon-Levitt) who is fixated on Luxx, performing a tribute to her on
live stream when not being nagged by his mother, trying to stop his little
sister from posting nude shots of herself on his site and shyly trying to
seduce a pretty local grocery store clerk (Malin Ackerman).
third plotline follows a dim former porn co-star (Palicki) who is suddenly
realizing that despite the fact that they are both straight, she is getting
a huge girl-crush on her best friend (Chriqui).
All of these disparate plot threads – not to mention the other characters
like the private eye, the novelist, the horny bankers and the babysat girl –
weave in and out to make an interesting ensemble look at some of society’s
sometimes goes off
the rails as it tries to subvert cinematic traditions. Some of the plot
turns are a bit too off-the-wall, while others skirt a bit too close to
melodrama. However, a particularly strong performance by the wonderfully
game Gugino (actually, two performances, she also does one scene as her
character’s street-tough twin sister) and a clever, unpredictable and often
humorous script make Elektra Luxx a satisfying diversion for
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2011 PopEntertainment.com.
All rights reserved. Posted: February 25, 2011.