5.2

Elektra Luxx

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<i>Elektra Luxx</i>

Director: Sebastian Gutierrez
Writer: Sebastian Gutierrez
Cinematographer: Cale Finot
Starring: Carla Gugino, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Adrianne Palicki, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Timothy Olyphant, Julianne Moore
Studio/Running Time: Samuel Goldwyn Films, 98 min.

It may be hard to swallow (sorry, couldn’t resist) but Elektra Luxx, a film that revolves around a porn star, pays apt tribute to the romantic comedies of the 1930s. Back then, young, upcoming directors like Frank Capra (It Happened One Night, You Can’t Take It With You, Mr. Smith Goes To Washington), Ernst Lubitsch (Ninotchka, The Merry Widow) and W.S. Van Dyke (The Thin Man series) continuously turned out movies filled with witty dialogue between sharp-tongued, intelligent women and girl-crazy men. Sometimes they worked, and often times they flopped. Little has changed in 80 years as writer/director Sebastian Gutierrez employs the same formula with only a modicum of success.

Elektra (Carla Gugino), the international porn star from Women In Trouble has left “the biz” in this sequel and is now teaching a community college course on “How To Act Like A Porn Star In Bed” when Cora (Marley Shelton) shows up to give her the lost copies of rock star Nick’s song lyrics—all written about Elektra. Cora, feeling guilty that Nick died while performing a Mile High Club activity with her in an airliner’s bathroom, now wants Elektra to seduce her fiancé.

While the premise is mildly funny, the plotline veers off course, serving only as a medium to set up numerous vignettes throughout the film. Although he was more successful in keeping a semblance of continuity in Women In Trouble, Gutierrez still pulls off an entertaining romp primarily because of some excellent performances from the other stars in the vignettes. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is back with more screen time as the video sex blogger/Elektra-obsessed Bert Rodriguez who works in the basement of his parents’ home. Holly Rocket (Adrianne Palicki) and Bambi (Emmanuelle Chriqui) also return as Elektra’s old, still-in-the-biz, call-girl co-workers. And once again Robyn Hitchcock composes an excellent soundtrack.

Palicki, who as Tara was one of the brightest stars of Friday Night Lights (and has the lead role in NBC’s Wonder Woman pilot) is fabulous as a sweet, English-mangling bimbo who struggles with her secret love crush on Bambi.

Moving from one encounter to another after discovering she’s pregnant Elektra accidentally sleeps with a private detective (Timothy Olyphant), gets trapped in an elevator with a naked man (Vincent Kartheiser), pays a call to her twin sister in prison, is visited by the Virgin Mary (Julianne Moore) and is propositioned by an older woman (Kathleen Quinlan). It’s a “don’t think, just enjoy” kind of film from which early Hollywood made its bread and butter—complete with clever banter and one-liners about relationships, some that occasionally hit their mark: “She just knocked the architecture right out of my legs.”

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