Thursday, January 12, 2012

Let me tell you, all women, ulimately are evil.

I've been together with my wife for over eleven years. Dating, jealousy, taking the next step and things of that nature are distant memories. We concern ourselves more with pressing issues like nap time, potty-training and finding a moment to have conversations about anything other than our son. That said, Steven Soderbergh's film, The Girlfriend Experience did manage to evoke some of those old feelings in me. Regardless of where you are in your life in terms of relationship status, I think you'll be able to connect with some of the feelings on display here. But, be careful. It's not going to be easy.

If you had to guess what **** means are you going with **** or ****?
Soderbergh has, arguably, a wildly varying résumé. He creates movies for the masses (hmm, let's go with...Erin Brockovich) and for complete niche segments (Bubble, anyone?) too. The Girlfriend Experience is certainly small-time, with the lead actress being Sasha Grey, more known for her porn days (she has since 23) on the computer screen than for lighting up the silver one. Anyhow, Soderbergh goes all artsy or experimental - I'll let you label it.

This movie runs only 77 minutes and there are countless scenes that use a non-traditional approach, some of which will drag on, making the movie seem significantly longer. For example, there was a scene in a restaurant where a light in the background was in focus but neither of the two characters speaking were. It might've been subtle at first, but the scene lasted for a couple of minutes and had zero cutaways. Goodness. The lack of closeups, camera movement and any real visual flair may suit the cold, sterile nature of the main character, but it can be a real test for someone watching it. Especially, when you start it after you should have been sleeping.

Soderbergh + Vegas - Clooney = The Girlfriend Experience.
My lame interpretations aside, there is a lot of cleverness to the story as well. Our girl Sasha, plays the burgeoning escort Chelsea. Chelsea is living quite the sweet life. She is revered by her clients and generally seems pretty happy with herself. Shoot, sometimes she doesn't even have sex with the guys, they just talk to her and she seems to really listen (my vote? we can talk after). She even has a pretty decent boyfriend who somehow manages to be cool with his lady-friend turning tricks for a living. They have some ground rules, but c'mon, man! Very few men that walk this planet could handle the relentless jealousy that would come with having a hooker as your significant other. Or is that just me?

Anyway, it's interesting to see their stories mirror each other. Seemingly things will end up okay for these two, despite the shaky economy (a major undercurrent for everything). Their goals are very much the same and both are trying to grow their businesses, both are trying to get a leg up. Chelsea is the clear bread-winner, but her man is doing what he can. Everything's cool. But then something happens, rules are broken, and ultimately, things begin to unravel.

I don't find her that attractive. Smells like cabbage. Small hands.
What doesn't unravel, are Ms. Grey's clothes, shockingly. Yes, I know that's what you've been waiting for in this review, isn't it? Despite her pedigree, you salacious types will be utterly disappointed. I think the best you'll get is about five-eighths of a nipple and some darkness-encased nudity. I honestly didn't care, but for a movie about a hooker starring a porn star, it's rather tame with the friskiness. But you're on the internet as we speak, so...problem solved.

Two guys in this movie I'm compelled to mention: Blogger Guy: You sir, are a genius. Paraphrasing: I'd love to rate you for my website, you know, offer you up to some finer clientele. Sound good? Cool. Oh, but I can't recommend you know. If you can't trust a guy who runs his adult website out of the back of an abandoned Mattress Warehouse, who can you trust?
Jewish Jeweler Guy: Thanks for the tip about gold. Now see how long you can hug me before.... Oh, never mind. My work here is done.


  1. Very good review and I liked what you said about Miss Grey not removing her clothes. She is actually acting and for this paticular role she is good. C'mon Mr. Soderberg, put Sasha in one of your more bigger movies.

    1. Actually, the way he reuses actors over and over again, I'm curious as to why she's never made another appearance. But if there's anything I know about Soderbergh, it's that that guy does whatever the f--k he wants, however and whenever the f--k he wants.

      And I respect the Hell out of that.