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Film Review: ‘Elektra Luxx’ Offers Middling Showcase For Carla Gugino

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CHICAGO – Sebastian Gutierrez is the sort of filmmaker who thrives best on the festival circuit. His work is just quirky and distinctive enough to garner overenthusiastic praise from jaded festival goers in the mood for markedly lighter fare. Yet when screened out of the celebratory atmosphere at SXSW, Gutierrez’s films fail to register as anything more than mediocre trifles.

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2.0/5.0
Rating: 2.0/5.0

“Elektra Luxx” is a more assured and likable film than its lifeless predecessor, “Women in Trouble,” but it’s still nowhere near as funny or insightful (or sexy) as it thinks it is. Gutierrez seems to be fashioning these estrogen-fueled ensemble comedies after the work of cinema master Pedro Almodóvar. Imagine “Volver” as a sitcom on TV Land, and you’ll get an approximate idea of this picture’s playful, curiously amateurish tone. The gags are as broad as the drama is campy, yet what more can one expect from the co-writer of “Snakes on a Plane”?

StarRead Matt Fagerholm’s full review of “Elektra Luxx” in our reviews section.

Like “Women,” this film mainly serves as a showcase for the considerable talents of Gutierrez’s girlfriend and frequent collaborator, Carla Gugino. Her empathetic portrayal of the titular porn star makes this mess more diverting than it has any right to be. As the film opens, the newly pregnant Luxx is attempting to part ways with her adult film career, opting instead to teach at a community center. Her class? “How to Act Like a Porn Star in Bed,” of course. She’s soon approached by hopelessly needy flight attendant Cora (Marley Sheton) with a proposition straight out of an Atom Egoyan picture. Cora wants her husband to be seduced so she can feel less guilty about her own infidelity. But Luxx ends up mistaking a hunky private detective, the wonderfully named Dellwood Butterworth (Timothy Olyphant), for Cora’s husband. One of the film’s most unexpected highlights is the way in which a low-key Olyphant injects his all-too-brief screen time with much-needed charm and class (seriously, the film could’ve used more of him). He’s one of the few members of this crowded, overqualified cast that manages to leave some semblance of an impression.

‘Elektra Luxx’ stars Carla Gugino, Adrianne Palicki, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Marley Shelton, Timothy Olyphant, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Kathleen Quinlan. It was written and directed by Sebastian Gutierrez. It opened March 11 in New York and L.A., and is available on Video OnDemand. It is rated R.

StarContinue reading for Matt Fagerholm’s full “Elektra Luxx” review.

Carla Gugino and Timothy Olyphant star in Sebastian Gutierrez’s Elektra Luxx.
Carla Gugino and Timothy Olyphant star in Sebastian Gutierrez’s Elektra Luxx.
Photo credit: Samuel Goldwyn Films

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