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Elektra Luxx: Film Review

The Bottom Line

Micro-budgeted sequel improves on its obscure predecessor while giving ample screen time to actresses who don't get enough elsewhere.

Director-screenwriter-producer

Sebastian Gutierrez

Cast

Malin Akerman, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Carla Gugino, Isabella Gutierrez

 

Making a sequel to a movie whose box-office receipts wouldn't quite buy a Honda Accord may be odd, but it pays off however marginally for writer/director Sebastian Gutierrez.

NEW YORK — Making a sequel to a movie, 2009's Women in Trouble, whose box-office receipts wouldn't quite buy a Honda Accord may be odd, but it pays off however marginally for writer/director Sebastian Gutierrez in Elektra Luxx, a much more enjoyable outing than the first that, however modest its own theatrical prospects are.

Drawing from the first film's stable of actresses and making better use of fewer men (notably Joseph Gordon-Levitt, whose Latino porn-blogger rhapsodizes about smut with comic grandiosity), the movie still plays like a cable-ready anthology of shorts but is better organized around a central character: Carla Gugino's eponymous porn star, now pregnant and trying to find some self-respect in early retirement.

At its best when playing for banter-based laughs (ditzy malapropism from Adrianne Palicki, mistaken-identity sexual encounters), the picture occasionally sags when asking us to invest more serious emotion even if one such scene does offer an uncredited Julianne Moore as the Virgin Mary.

More wit tumbles from the screenplay than is required in a film built so solidly around (PG-worthy) T&A, but Gutierrez isn't interested in satisfying sex-crazed Cinemaxers as much as in creating actress-pleasing roles that are as meaty as they are fleshy.

He still lags far behind role model Pedro Almodóvar in that and other departments, but Elektra Luxx offers unexpected pleasures among them: what must be the world's first lap dance accompanied by a Robyn Hitchcock song, a credits sequence more sexy and stylish than some Bond film intros; and a trailer for one of the heroine's imaginary star vehicles, "Even Reverse Cowgirls Get the Blues."

Opens: March 11 (Destination Films)
Production Company: Gato Negro Films
Cast: Malin Akerman, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Carla Gugino, Isabella Gutierrez, Vincent Kartheiser, Justin Kirk, Timothy Olyphant, Adrianne Palicki, Lucy Punch, Kathleen Quinlan, Amy Rosoff, Marley Shelton
Director-screenwriter-producer: Sebastian Gutierrez
Director of photography: Cale Finot
Music: Robyn Hitchcock
Costume designer: Denise Wingate
Editor: Lisa Bromwell
Rated R, 100 minutes