Directed by: Sebastian Gutierrez | 90 minutes | comedy | Actors: Carla Gugino, Adrianne Palicki, Dan Mailley, Connie Britton, Caitlin Keats, Isabella Gutierrez, Simon Baker, Sarah Clarke, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Antonio Grana, Marley Shelton, Josh Brolin, Garcelle Beauvais, Greg Lauren, Samantha Shelton, Rya Kihlstedt, Xander Berkeley, Elizabeth Berkley, Lauren Katz, Paul Cassell, Cameron Richardson, Tricia Donohue, Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Sebastian Gutierrez’s oeuvre does not bode well: his name as a screenwriter is on the credits of notorious films such as “Gothica” (2003) and “Snakes on a Plane” (2006). Well, those films have now acquired a certain cult status, but they were finally burned down by the critics. The mishmash “Women in Trouble” (2009) directed by him will meet the same fate. There is undoubtedly an audience for this messy sex comedy, but it won’t reach the masses. Gutierrez has ten gorgeous ladies – including his own girlfriend Carla Gugino – appear in rare little things, and then connect them through the most incredible story structures. There is a hint of the early work of Pedro Almodóvar, of whom Gutierrez is clearly a lover, but he never manages to approach the Spanish master. The mosaic structure, in turn, is reminiscent of another celebrity in film land: Robert Altman, but that comparison is also far too much credit for this collection of porn actresses and other ladies of easy morals whose doom and gloom really do not interest us much.
If Gutierrez had kept it light-hearted and comical, it would have been until then. But the concerns of these women are presented to us very seriously. Porn queen Elektra Luxx (Gugino) discovers she’s pregnant with her ex-boyfriend, riotous rock star Nick Chapel (fun, casual role by Josh Brolin). In the elevator, she gets stuck with the neurotic Doris (Connie Britton), who carries a great secret. Her precocious niece Charlotte (Isabella Gutierrez, daughter of the director) turns out to be closer to her than she thinks. Elektra’s clumsy colleague Holly Rocket (Adrianne Palicki) is invited by her equally busty friend Bambi (Emanuelle Chriqui) to pamper a sugar daddy, but he is murdered in their vicinity. The women flee to neighbor Maxine (Sarah Clarke), a psychotherapist who has just discovered that her husband (Simon Baker) is cheating on her with one of her patients (who turns out to be Doris’s sister – coincidentally, coincidentally …) And then There is also flight attendant Cora (Marley Shelton), who manages to join the Mile High Club in a very unfortunate way.
It is clear that “Women in Trouble” was written and directed by a man – a woman would take a much more realistic approach. Women who walk around in their underwear inappropriately, who utter vulgar language and even come up with cringe-worthy sexual trauma – it may excite some of the male viewers, but at the same time scare away much of the potential audience. Especially since that loose attitude to life is linked to emotional revelations, personal crises and other melodrama. No wonder that results in a disjointed film that doesn’t know whether to repel or attract. “Women in Trouble” is a comedy that never gets funny. It is that the cast is nice for the day, making the film still somewhat viewable. The soundtrack by Robyn Hitchcock is also nice (but could have been a bit more prominent). For some unknown reason, the cutest and funniest scene in the entire film, starring all of us Joseph Gordon-Levitt, is tucked away beyond the credits. It illustrates the half-hearted approach that “Women in Trouble” has.