Love Ranch: A Pseudo-Naughty Film That Falls Flat


It's 6:14am in the morning.

Turkey isn't on my mind. Love Ranch is.

Love Ranch, for those that don't know,
is a film about a married couple who run a whore house. Yes, it's a
rather inappropriate choice for such a family holiday as this.
Something in me however told me to watch this film.

Perhaps I like being depressed, because
that's exactly what I got from seeing this film.

Helen Mirren, who plays hardened den
mother Grace, doesn't look very comfortable in this film. In my mind
ironically she's never been an actress to play a comfortable
character; you could easily get a taste of what I mean by watching
any episode of Prime Suspect. Perhaps the overall reason she doesn't
come across as playing a character is that her character has no real
up to her otherwise dark existence.

Her relationship with her thuggish
husband Charlie is a business venture if anything; Charlie brings in
the business, but Grace manages it. When it comes to love, she keeps
the typical appearance of being a happily married woman while being
distant at the same time from her husband. The problem is the
shifting emotions she feels for him while he disrespects her by
cheating on him don't go smoothly.

There's a bit in the film where Charlie
and Grace have a toe-to-toe about who contributes the most to the
ranch. Pesci, who carried over a bit of his Goodfellas acting here,
beings throwing things around and approaching Mirren's character as
if to hit her. The tension is killed between them as she does the
whole "I'm sorry, you're right dear" routine.

Humanity is required in a film of this
sort. Mark Jacobson's screenplay, which apparently was heavily
re-written during the last writer's strike, has small little blotches
of this. Blips on the radar that some kind of middle ground exists in
this film's universe isn't enough to make this even bearing past the
film's first hour.

The second hour brings a bit more to
the plot as Grace engages in an affair with a dunderhead boxer. I'm
sure the love scenes she had to endure led her to this revelation in
an interview with Reuters she gave awhile back while promoting the film:

"I don't really like romantic movies very much...And I hate talking about feelings, so I'm definitely a man in disguise," Mirren told Reuters when talking about her new "Love Ranch."

Ladies and gentlemen? The Bullseye.

She doesn't like romance films and is
more like a man than a woman in her mentality when it comes to that. 

That explains why her character in lust still doesn't come across as
believable when turning into a MILF for the dunderhead boxer in the
second part of the film.

I'm sure she's done better in other films with these kinds of situations (I could be wrong).

I'll call it like I see it with this one.

This was a good film ruined by
uninterested actors who gave bland performances without a good script
to keep the film afloat.

As a side note, I am going to try to an
get an interview with Mark Jacobson himself for further insight into
the changes made to his original script.  

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