VOD Review: Lovelace Has No Depth

The sideburns, the 'stache, the unstable personality... Isn't he dreamy?
The sideburns, the ‘stache, the unstable personality… Isn’t he dreamy?

Linda Lovelace worked in porn for barely two weeks. In that period, Lovelace shot the most popular adult movie of all time (Deep Throat made 600 million dollars at the box office), was brutally treated by her horrid boyfriend, and didn’t see a penny for her troubles.

Lovelace had some juicy ingredients to work with. Then why is so painfully boring? Blame on the directors Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, two documentarians with barely any experience with scripted drama. Their approach to the subject is retelling anecdotes in simplistic fashion. Based on the film alone, the most determinant factor that led Linda to porn was her domineering mother. As for insights in the making of Deep Throat, you’ll find more info in Wikipedia.

As Linda, Amanda Seyfried mistakes nudity with boldness. The character doesn’t seem to have any will of her own, or any distinctive traits (besides the obvious one). Seyfried seems to be devolving: All her best performances are from early in her career (Mean Girls, Big Love). Peter Sarsgaard as her boyfriend -the infamous Chuck Trainer- is slightly better, but terribly one-note. Sarsgaard is a talented actor, but he really need to stop playing villains. Learn from Mark Strong.

Also distracting: All the cameos. For every solid performer, say, Sharon Stone as Lovelace’s mom, there is James Franco, hamming it up as Hugh Hefner. Plus, can anyone buy Adam Brody as a porn star?

Lovelace looks like a movie of the week (cheap) and a cautionary tale. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t have ambition: It wants to be Boggie Nights. It features a double-back narrative device to fill the blanks, but even then comes short as it clarifies nothing.

Among the many inexplicable transformations in this film, Lovelace’s conversion into dotty church-lady goes unexplored. That could be a better movie. Sexier even.

One and a half seedy-looking prairie dog. Available in VOD and iTunes.

Author: Jorge Ignacio Castillo

Journalist, film critic, documentary filmmaker, and sometimes nice guy. Member of the Vancouver Film Critics Circle. Like horror flicks, long walks on the beach and candlelight dinners. Allergic to cats.