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Featured Blu-ray / DVD Review: Women in Trouble

February 26th, 2010

Women in Trouble - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray

Women in Trouble is an ensemble dramedy focusing on the intersecting lives of ten or eleven women in Los Angeles over the course of a day. Sort of like Short Cuts, but with porn stars and call girls, etc. The film's reviews were weak and its box office numbers were even weaker, but there are reports of a sequel called Elektra Luxx in the works and a planned third installment. Does this film have appeal that critics and moviegoers didn't get when it was first released? Does it really warrant a sequel? Or were the critics right?

There's no single plot that runs throughout the movie. Instead, there are several stories that intertwine to varying degrees. There is Carla Gugino as Elektra Luxx, a porn star who has to leave her co-star (Holly Rocket) and head to the doctor. There, she learns she is pregnant. While at the doctor's office she meets Connie Britton, whom she hears on the phone in a fight with her sister (Abby) who is taking her daughter (Charlotte) to a therapist (Maxine). During her session, Charlotte tells Maxine that Abby is having an affair with Maxine's husband, Travis. Maxine immediately leaves, accidentally hitting Holly Rocket with her car, as Holly and Bambi were running from a client of theirs who was being harassed by some loan sharks who are trying to collect on a debt. The three of them head to a bar. There they meet the bartender, Rita, who shows she's handy with a shotgun when hitmen come and grab Holly. She is then taken to Rita's place where she meets Darby, Rita's roommate and masseuse.

That's only nine women (including Charlotte). Who am I missing? Oh yeah, there are two flight attendants, one of whom hooks up with a rock star. But this part of the movie has the least to do with the rest of the plot, which is why it is the least memorable.

(One final note: Joseph Gordon-Levitt is in the movie playing an interviewer, but he isn't introduced until after the end credits. I had to do a bit of research to figure that out, as I missed it the first time around. Quite frankly, it wasn't worth waiting for.)

That seems like a lot of spoilers in the plot summary, which is something I try to avoid. However, this is not a movie that is big on plot. The plot is merely there to give the main characters reasons to give long speeches that are almost soliloquies. Some of these are quite interesting to listen to, but most are not. The characters are not developed enough that I care. Connie Britton's story was the only one that I really liked, while the others ranged from unremarkable to "When will this end?" Because these uninspiring speeches are the heart of the movie, the movie as a whole doesn't work.

I do not have the DVD to review, but I don't think there are any extras exclusive to the Blu-ray. There are certainly no extras on the Blu-ray that push the technology. Things start with Elektra Luxx and Holly Rocket talking about why you should see the movie. There are five "deleted scenes" that are merely the therapy sessions we see in the movie, but intact instead of inter-cut like we see them in the movie.

On a side note, they include the 'Pool Teaser Trailer' as an extra. The entire thing is just some of the actresses in a pool stripping down to their underwear. Here's the thing, when you advertise a movie showing nothing but women in their underwear with not even a hint of a plot, your direct competition becomes, well, porn. In the age of the Internet, you shouldn't go that direction. You can't out-porn porn.

As for the film's technical presentation on Blu-ray, it's merely adequate for this type of release. I was never once wowed by the video or the audio, but that's not surprising given its low budget and reliance on dialogue over visual effects. On a positive note, it only costs $1 more than the DVD.

The Verdict

Women in Trouble was written and directed by Sebastian Gutierrez, who previously wrote and directed Rise. His biggest writing credit to date is Snakes on a Plane. Sadly, this film earned reviews that were weaker than both those movies, and I'm not surprised. The characters are one-dimensional, the writing is forced, and there's little for the actors to worth with. Neither the DVD nor the Blu-ray are worth it. I can't recommend renting, unless you are a really hardcore fan of some of the actresses involved.

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Filed under: Video Review, Women in Trouble