Saturday, June 25, 2011

DVDebut: Sebastian Gutierrez is back with ELEKTRA LUXX (or Women in Trouble,Two)

If you are one of those, like TrustMovies, who could not get enough of writer/director Sebastian Gutierrez's earlier comedy about porn stars, in-flight sex and lesbian love, Women in Trouble, you'll be happy to learn that it's sequel-of-sorts ELEKTRA LUXX is now available on DVD. Is it as good as the original? (Come on: Is The Godfather: Part Two better than The Godfather -- and if so, by how much? You get the point.) Gutierrez' original was fast, frisky fun that proved a non-stop delight right through to the sudden appearance during the end credits of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, as Bert Rodriguez, the host of a homemade cable show dedicated to porn actresses.

Gordon-Levitt appears again in the new film, in a more major manner. That's he, just above, with Malin Akerman, as a young lady smiitten enough with Bert show him her portfolio. (An uncredited Julianne Moore also appears, but you'll have to see this movie to learn just who she plays.)

The filmmaker, shown at right, comes back again and again to this foolish but quite sincere young man -- and his show -- as Rodriguez tries to take in the sudden retirement of his favorite star, the titular Elektra (Carla Gugino, below, left), who, it turns out, is pregnant by a late rock idol (whom we met having that aforementioned in-flight sex during the original film). The object of said sex, a flight attendant played by Marley Shelton (below, in dark glasses), is also back.

Also seen again are the porn star/call girls played by Adrianne Palicki (below, left) and Emmanuelle Chriqui (below, right). Ms Palicki is as ditzy and delightful as ever, with Ms Chriqui as put-upon and beautiful. They make a pair-and-a-half of pulchritude and missed-connection sweetness.

Newcomers to the new film include the always terrific Timothy Olyphant (in bed, below, with Ms Gugino), Justin Kirk, Lucy Punch and Kathleen Quinlan (two photos down). The newcomers hold their own pefectly with the veterans, for everyone is in sync with Gutierrez's silly, loony-tune series of sexual (and otherwise) shenanigans.

I would guess that, compared to Women in Trouble, Elektra Luxx was shot more quickly and on a lower budget. It seems definitely more off-the-cuff in every way. But this does not stop the humor -- nor the sweet delight the performers take in their roles and their connections with each other -- from coming through just as strongly. If you disliked the original, you will feel no differently toward its sequel. And if you loved it, as did I, chances are, you'll be smiling right through to the end of this film, too.

Sure, Gutierrez's duo in no way reflects the real porn industry or what it does to its "work force." Instead, it's  women -- at work and play and love -- that the two films celebrate. There is a giddiness about what the filmmaker and his cast are up to that is quite catching. I could easily sit still for the third and fourth part to what I hope has now become an ongoing series.

Critics were quite down on this movie (2/3 con, 1/3 pro), so clearly, it appeals most to what we'd have to call "specific tastes." Because so much of the content has to do with what happened in Women in Trouble, I do suggest that, if you haven't yet seen it, you rent that earlier film before viewing this one. Elektra Luxx is available now for sale or rental -- from the usual sources.

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