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Female Troubles

film_girl‘Women in Trouble’ doesn’t quite rise to the occasion

The almost entirely female cast of Women In Trouble tend to be taut, leggy twenty- and thirtysomethings with long, flowing locks, who look great in lacy underwear and high heels. The actresses are made to look so similar in Sebastian Gutierrez's stylized ensemble comedy, it's often hard to tell the characters apart.

As a handful of random women meet, confess their secrets, and bond during the course of one day in an unnamed city (it was shot in L.A.), viewers might feel like they're watching that show on the Playboy Channel where the bunnies wander around the mansion and talk about their insular lives; it provides eye candy for awhile but it never feels like real life. A plucky Carla Gugino plays porn star Elektra Luxx (hers is "the most popular celebrity vagina on the market"), who's astonished to learn she's pregnant. On the way out of the clinic, she gets stuck in a malfunctioning elevator with Doris (Connie Britton), a woman with a secret to unload.

Elektra's co-star, Holly Rocket (Adrianne Palicki), a sweet dimbulb who keeps getting backed-into by cars, joins her call-girl pal (Emmanuelle Chriqui) on a disastrous job that sends them fleeing for their lives to a lesbian bar. En route, they pick up a therapist neighbor (Sarah Clarke), who's just caught her husband (Simon Baker) cheating with the mother of her adolescent client. (This infant savant girl is meant to be the sensible center of the story, although the actress, Isabella Gutierrez, the director's daughter, bears an unsettling resemblance to the demon child in Orphan.) Meanwhile, a flight attendant (Marley Shelton) has an airborne close encounter with a legendary British rocker (a very funny cameo by Josh Brolin).

film_women_in_trouble_ver4Gutierrez has written some scripts with Pedro Almodóvar, and Women In Trouble is very much in the vein of the latter's florid farcical melodramas. The dialogue can be amusing. (Elektra is a natural in porn, she says, because her "grandmother was a gypsy sword-swallower.") What's missing is the earthy humanism and compassion in the best of Almodóvar's films. Gutierrez's dizzy femmes careen around in an alternative universe of sexy silliness. (Only the intrepid Gugino and Britton, have enough screen time and chutzpah to earn viewer sympathy and interest.)

Gutierrez borrows the lollipop veneer of his mentor's films without providing a reason to care about any of it. His movie is Almodóvar Lite.

WOMEN IN TROUBLE ★★ With Carla Gugino, Adrianne Palicki, Sarah Clarke, Simon Baker and Marley Shelton. (R) 92 minutes.

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Heart Me Up

In defense of Valentine’s Day

 

“be(ing) of love (a little) more careful”—e.e. cummings

Wednesday (Feb. 10) is Ash Wednesday, when Lent begins. Friday (Feb. 12) is Lincoln’s 207th birthday. Sunday is Valentine’s Day. On Ash Wednesday, with foreheads marked with a cross of ashes, we hear the words, “From dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return.” Reminding us that our bodies, made of matter, will remain here on Earth when we are called back. It is our Soul that will take us home again. Lent offers us 40 days and nights of purification in preparation for the Resurrection (Easter) festival (an initiation) and for the Three Spring Festivals (at the time of the full moon)—Aries, Taurus, Gemini. The New Group of World Servers have been preparing since Winter Solstice. The number 40 is significant. The Christ (Pisces World Teacher) was in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights prior to His three-year ministry. The purpose of this desert exile was to prepare his Archangel (light) body to withstand the pressures of the Earth plane (form and matter). We, too, in our intentional purifications and prayers during the 40 days of Lent, prepare ourselves (physical body, emotions, lower mind) to receive and be able to withstand the irradiation of will, love/wisdom and light streaming into the Earth at spring equinox, Easter, and the Three Spiritual Festivals. What is Lent? The Anglo-Saxon word, lencten, comes from an ancient spring festival, agricultural rites marking the transition between winter and summer. The seasons reflect changes in nature (physical world) and humanity responds with social festivals of gratitude and of renewal. There is a purification process, prayerfulness in nature and in humanity in preparation for a great flow of spiritual energies during springtime. Valentine’s Day: Aquarius Sun, Taurus moon. Let us offer gifts of comfort, ease, harmony, beauty and satisfaction. Things chocolate and golden. Venus and Taurus things.

 

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Film, Times & Events: Week of February 12

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