With more references to vaginas than Our Bodies, Ourselves, Sebastian Gutierrez’s Almodóvar-in-the-’80s accented comedy isn’t quite the unequivocal embrace of pussy power it tries to be. Featuring a criss-crossing, virtually all-distaff cast—including Gutierrez’s real-life girlfriend, Carla Gugino, as patient porn star Elektra Luxx, and kid, Isabella Gutierrez, as weirdo tween Charlotte—Women in Trouble awkwardly mixes blue material with sob stories. Elektra and her XXX castmate, Holly Rocket (Adrianne Palicki, smartly playing a dumb blonde), who moonlights on occasion with working girl Bambi (Emmanuelle Chriqui), provide both raunch and emotional sustenance during random encounters with other characters: Holly and Bambi dry the eyes of a betrayed therapist, while Elektra counsels a conflicted mother. Though his film is more fun—and much less insulting—than Diane English’s abominable remake of The Women, Gutierrez (who wrote the scripts for Gothika and Snakes on a Plane) still lapses into WE TV hokum (“If we don’t tell people how we feel, what are we doing here?”) and seems wildly anxious about the delta of Venus. Josh Brolin, in bad Keith Richards drag, suffers misfortune while orally pleasuring Marley Shelton’s flight attendant; Holly, who has the hots for Bambi, is incapable of going down without throwing up. You can’t successfully deliver a vagina monologue with such a sensitive gag reflex.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on November 10, 2009