From the Department Of Unnecessary Sequels comes Elektra Luxx, Sebastian Gutierrez’s follow-up to his mildly naughty, Pedro Almodóvar-lite ensemble comedy Women In Trouble. Never heard of it, you say? Forgotten about it if you have? No matter. Gutierrez has extended its obscure mythology into a second, equally disposable romp, once again squandering a great, absurdly sexy cast on material that isn’t worth the day or two its actors took out of their lives to bring it to life. As with Women In Trouble, Gutierrez unveils a series of loosely connected characters and subplots that concern players in and around the porn industry, but the intended colorful irreverence looks a lot like standard indie quirk.
Though enough references to the first film are made to firm up the connection between the two, Gutierrez is wise enough to make sure those who haven’t seen (or can’t remember) Women In Trouble aren’t at sea. The eponymous character, played by Gutierrez’s longtime partner and muse Carla Gugino, has shocked the adult-film business with her sudden retirement. Uncertain of her next step—and hiding a pregnancy—Gugino teaches a class of bored housewives “how to have sex like a porn star,” and gets mixed up with a private detective (Timothy Olyphant) and a bizarre blackmail plot.
Gutierrez pads out Gugino’s travails with a pair of subplots so wispy they wouldn’t hold up to a stiff breeze: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, trying on a halfhearted Hispanic accent for size, plays a porn blogger still reeling from Gugino’s retirement, and Adrianne Palicki and Emmanuelle Chriqui appear as porn-star friends who try to seduce venture capitalists while on vacation in Mexico. Malin Akerman, Justin Kirk, Vincent Kartheiser, Kathleen Quinlan, and a very special uncredited guest round out a cast of familiar bit-players, but their one-off scenes are poorly stitched into the whole. There’s a compelling thread here about what a famous porn star does for a second act, but Gutierrez only commits to it superficially. It’s hard to fathom the point of Elektra Luxx; maybe a third film will clear things up.