Elektra Luxx: Carla Gugino as a Porn Star Gone Legit

Still on track to be the George Cukor of the stroke-movie set, Sebastian Gutierrez follows up 2009's Women in Trouble with this first of two sequels. Elektra Luxx picks up where its predecessor left off, with the titular, pregnant ex-porn starlet (Carla Gugino, Gutierrez's real-life squeeze) still coming to terms with her rock-star boyfriend's death and now eking out a living teaching a sex course to housewives. Tangents featuring a lovelorn fellow performer (Adrianne Palicki) and a worshipful blogger (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) also continue from the first film, while Timothy Olyphant, new to the trilogy, turns up in backwater Cary Grant mode. Elektra Luxx's episodic structure and candy-apple compositions make for a good time, even if Gutierrez lacks the narrative and syntactical muscle to pull off the sex-positive, Tarantino-esque farce he seems to be after. But while milking humor and pathos from porn is a fine idea, Elektra Luxx is too reverent to land any real punches: Gutierrez mounts a solid defense of the form ("If it wasn't for Swedish movies in the '60s, all our movies today would be about robots"), but his gooey-centered heroine embodies the porn industry rather than transcends it, and ultimately plays as that hoariest of Hollywood whores—the kind with a heart of gold.

 
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