Review: Elektra Luxx
PLOT: A porn star, Elektra Luxx (Carla Gugino) retires from the biz after she discovers she's pregnant.
REVIEW: ELEKTRA LUXX is director Sebastian Gutierrez's follow-up to WOMEN IN TROUBLE, an earlier ensemble comedy that featured a lot of the characters popping up here, including the titular Luxx, played by his real-life partner, Carla Gugino (the lucky so-and-so!). I haven't seen that film, so I went into ELEKTRA LUXX somewhat lost- which, I'll admit, probably wasn't the best way to approach this. Still, considering how under-the-radar it was, I imagine a lot of ELEKTRA LUXX's audience is going to be in the same boat.
Apparently, that film explained how she got pregnant by a rock star played by Josh Brolin, who then died in an amorous encounter on-board a plane with Marley Shelton's character (not a bad way to go).
This picks up with Luxx now teaching suburban wives (including the funny Lucy Punch, and Kathleen Quinlan) how to inject a little porn-star lovemaking into their own sex lives. Here, she's approached by Shelton's character, who's ended up in possession of Luxx's former rock star beau's last recordings, all of which were about Luxx. Meanwhile, she's pursued by a PI (played by Timothy Olyphant) who's been hired by a record label to get those lost recordings back. We also get subplots about Joseph Gordon-Levitt's porn enthusiast web-caster, who pines for Luxx's return to the world of porn, and another about Adrianne Palicki's lust for her best friend, played by Emmanuel Chriqui. Yowza!
Obviously, Gutierrez is a big Pedro Almodovar fan, with this owing a lot to his classic farce, WOMEN ON THE VERGE OF A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN. This is a far cry from his earlier genre work, like RISE: BLOOD HUNTER, and I truly believe Gutierrez has it in him to make a terrific American variation on Almodovar's work. Sadly, with ELEKTRA LUXX, he's not quite there yet.
For me, the big problem with the film is that it seems like it was just slapped together on the-fly, as if they decided after shooting WOMEN IN TROUBLE, just to shoot another film for the heck of it. Despite the budget, he's put together a great looking film (with the candy-coloured DV shooting and imaginative opening credits being stand-outs). My problem is just that the story never really gelled, and- in all fairness to Gutierrez's work here, these types of semi-improvised films are really not my bag (for my money, only John Casavettes was really about to pull off that technique).
That said, there's still a lot to like in ELEKTRA LUXX- particularly the performances. All the gorgeous ladies featured in the film are great, with Gugino being the obvious stand-out (she also gets to play Luxx's imprisoned twin-sister). As always, she looks great, but she also shows off a sharp sense of comic timing, which I had no idea she possessed, and she'd probably be quite funny in a raunchy comedy.
One thing I should note is that, despite taking place in the porn-biz, ELEKTRA LUXX is a shockingly clean film, so if you're going in expecting loads of nudity- you'll be disappointed. However, if you're interested in seeing a few interesting performances by several actresses usually typecast as eye-candy (especially Chriqui and Palicki- both of whom demonstrate a deeper talent than might be obvious from their other work), ELEKTRA LUXX might be an interesting film to take in. While I admired the acting, it just never really came together into a cohesive whole that I could appreciate, but it's still an interesting, laudable attempt at making something different.