Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Under 250: Women in Trouble

I've read suggestions that with Women in Trouble director Sebastian Gutierrez is aspring to be Almodovar or trying to be Altman, albeit a knock-off model.  I'd say this is a fairly accurate summation.  Gutierrez has assembled an ensemble cast, 10 LA women headed up by Carla Gugino (an actress who deserves a solid lead), and placed them in a talky rinse cycle of the torrid and superficial.  Women in Trouble feels soapy in its pretention.  As Gutierrez struggles to piece together loosely connected plots with near constant dialogue on oral sex, the perks of being a porn star, or the strains of extramarital affairs, he never succeeds in grounding these women and making them accessible. There's a strange sense of friction between the women (most of who are playing into objectified roles/allowing objectification) and what the film wants us to take from our experience watching them. This, to me, was what made the film perhaps more interesting than some critics would have you believe.  Gutierrez is operating within the realm of the exploitation cliche.  The women, like the subplots themselves, are standard-issue homogenized renderings, yet while the pieces themselves are silly fluff, there's something that feels more deliberate between the lines.  Gutierrez is working towards something, though what that is is not quite clear. Even as I questioned its motives, however, I found the end result of Women in Trouble strangely pleasant.  The narrative never stayed put too long, the stories told were intriguing confections.

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