Love Ranch Taylor Hackford

Love Ranch Taylor Hackford
After many filmgoers shelled out their hard-earned cash simply to see Helen Mirren shoot a magnum-sized phallic symbol in a mediocre action film last month (Red), one would think that the same amount of unbridled enthusiasm would be shown towards viewing Mrs. Tingle's turn from the Queen of England to a lady pimp in Taylor Hackford's latest indolent effort. Unfortunately, Love Ranch is surprisingly flaccid despite the film's pornographic themes. Loosely based on the infamous story of real-life brothel owners Sally and Joe Conforte, Helen Mirren and Joe Pesci play Grace and Charlie Bontempo, an unhappily married couple who run a successful brothel in Reno. After struggling with her husband's blatant infidelity and her secret battle with cancer, Grace "cougars" it up by finding solace in the arms of an Argentinean Neanderthal boxer (Sergio Peris-Mencheta). As one might expect, things don't end well for the duo's budding May-December relationship. After living vicariously through his Academy award winning wife for the past few years, director Taylor Hackford provides viewers with a promising, attention-grabbing start to the film, only to turn the rest of Love Ranch into a cheesy love letter to his real-life meal ticket in this lukewarm indie. Despite having the ability to convey serious themes and cover controversial material mainstream films can't, Hackford strips the prostitutes in Mark Jacobson's script of any distinguishing features or attributes and each recognizable actress playing the Love Ranch employees (Gina Gershon, Elise Neal, Melora Walters and Taryn Manning) is subjected to walking around in skimpy outfits, laughing together in unison and having obese men keel over them and die mid-coitus. Regrettably, so much story and life were sacrificed to showcase Mirren's unsurprisingly solid performance and her lacklustre love triangle plotline that even Breaking Bad's Bryan Cranston can't save any scenes in his thankless cameo. While Love Ranch is too softcore and sappy to ever be compared to Showgirls, the DVD features for the film are just as entertainingly bad as Paul Verhoeven's cult classic. Viewers can treat themselves to many deleted scenes, including a scene entitled, "Whores chatting in the Day Room," which will make some chuckle. Viewers can also watch a video introduction with Mirren and Hackford, in which an uninterested Mirren compares prostitution to a dry cleaning company while sipping on a latté and Hackford creepily touches her hair to signify to the audience who hadn't watched the film with the painfully long "brag fest" audio commentary that Mirren is, in fact, his wife. Although Love Ranch has its share of jaw-dropping moments, it would be advisable to avoid the bloated runtime of 117 minutes and just go over to Mr. Skin's website to check out Mirren's boob shot instead, as that's the only thing viewers will remember from this film. (eOne)