Women in Trouble (2009) begins, as all movies should, with a 20-second close-up of Carla Gugino wearing a nun’s habit… before pulling back to reveal that her character, ‘Elektra Luxx’, is shooting a sex-flick with her “cowgirl” co-star ‘Holly Rocket’ (Adrianne Palicki) and some random stud. The scene is then interrupted by an urgent call from Elektra’s doctor… which shortly thereafter leads to the revelation that the veteran porn star is pregnant!
Unfortunately, I watched the eponymous sequel before this movie, so many of the stories here had already been spoiled by my own stupidity… though that didn’t stop me enjoying the performances of the all-star cast, as their characters wound their way towards predestined denouements. Although this entry was a little darker than its successor, in the sense that there was more (off-screen) death and violence, the two movies seem more like extended episodes of an ongoing TV mini-series, rather than separate feature films with self-contained arcs. Overall, the viewing experience was much the same as before… kinda sexy, kinda funny, and kinda dramatic, but not pushing any of those buttons hard enough to make a very deep or lasting impression. In fact, the funniest scene of all (a fake on-set interview with Holly and Elektra, hosted by smarmy fanboy ‘Bert Rodriguez’ (Joseph Gordon-Levitt)) was hidden away on the wrong side of the end credits, rather than included in the movie proper!
As I predicted, it was fun to spend some more time hanging out with these characters, and there’s no questioning the cast’s commitment to a project that was apparently completed in just 10 days, on a shoestring budget! Gugino was fantastic as always… Palicki was hilarious and adorable in equal measure…. but the MVP this time around had to be Connie Britton, playing the brittle ‘Doris’, who gets trapped in an elevator with Elektra and then bonds with her over their equally screwed-up personal histories. Fun fact: Gugino and Britton previously appeared together in the first season of Spin City… so anyone planning to write some slash-fiction about their characters on that sitcom might want to check this movie out for “inspiration” (not that they actually hook-up here… but they do get half-naked and sweaty, so plenty fodder for damp day-dreams there).
The supporting cast also included: Sarah Clarke as ‘Maxine McPherson’, a therapist who goes on a drunken tear after discovering her husband having an affair with one of her patients… Emmanuelle Chriqui as Holly’s brassy, trouble-making bestie ‘Bambi’… Marley Shelton as ‘Cora’, a flight attendant tempted to cheat on her fiancé by a famous passenger (Josh Brolin, rocking an “English” accent)… and Cameron Richardson as ‘Darby’, a kindly massuer who helps Holly overcome some career-threatening childhood trauma! Bless her.