Film Review: Lindsay Lohan Stars in Numbingly Vapid ‘The Canyons’

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CHICAGO – In January 2013, The New York Times wrote a scathing, fascinating piece about the tumultuous production of Paul Schrader’s “The Canyons.” The narrative was essentially that star Lindsay Lohan was so difficult on set that it derailed the directorial work of the writer of “Taxi Driver” in ways that would make a reality TV producer pull out his check book to buy the footage. Clearly, Lohan was being set up for the blame. Now that the movie is being released in New York this Friday and available On Demand the same day, the truth can be told –- Lindsay Lohan is NOT the problem with “The Canyons.” In fact, she’s arguably the only interesting thing about this train wreck, a film so vapid and worthless that it’s clear that, no matter what the troubled Ms. Lohan did on-set, there was no saving it.

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 1.0/5.0
Rating: 1.0/5.0

The notorious first scene of the film (referenced in that NYT piece for Lohan’s bizarre make-up choice within it) sets the stage for disaster. Awkward, porn-esque dialogue that sounds NOTHING like the way actual people speak to one another flies across a table at a posh L.A. restaurant. Immediately, I was thrown off. Is this supposed to be genuine? Satire? A stylized look at the L.A. celebutante scene a la the vastly superior “The Bling Ring”? None of the above? I don’t think anyone asked or answered those questions. Author Bret Easton Ellis has punctured the power structure before in works like “Less Than Zero” and “American Psycho” and so he might have considered this a satire but Paul Schrader plays it straight and the actors get stuck in the middle.

StarRead Brian Tallerico’s full review of “The Canyons” in our reviews section.

Back to the “story,” as slight as it is. In that opening scene, we meet the quartet of major players in “The Canyons”. On one side of the table, there’s the seemingly naïve Ryan (Nolan Funk) and his girlfriend Gina (Amanda Brooks). Gina works for Christian (James Deen), who is dating Tara (Lohan). Tara also happens to be screwing Ryan on the side even though the two are forced to pretend like they don’t know each other over cocktails. Christian happens to be screwing Yoga instructor Cynthia (Tenille Houston) and whomever else he can find online. In fact, he regularly sets up sexual encounters with Tara and himself in their Hollywood Hills home of decadence.

Christian is one of those guys who is perfectly fine with his girlfriend going down on another guy if he’s capturing it on his smart phone but not if he doesn’t know about it. He’s also clearly, as evidenced by Deen’s remarkably two-dimensional performance, totally unstable. And so as his jealousy starts to build when he realizes that Tara is sleeping with Ryan, he gets more and more dangerous.

StarContinue reading for Brian Tallerico’s full “The Canyons” review.

“The Canyons” stars Lindsay Lohan, James Deen, Nolan Funk, Amanda Brooks, Tenille Houston, and Gus Van Sant. It was written by Bret Easton Ellis and directed by Paul Schrader. It opens in New York on August 2, 2013 and will be available On Demand the same day.

The Canyons
The Canyons
Photo credit: IFC Films

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