Few sequels are less warranted than Elektra Luxx, a follow-up to 2009’s multi-character mess Women in Trouble that charts the further exploits of pregnant porn star Elektra Luxx (a charming Carla Gugino) as a means of continuing to promote the notion that, as Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s amateur smut-blogger states early on, “porn stars are people too.” Writer-director Sebastian Gutierrez’s ongoing saga normalizes porn as cathartic and empowering—or, as Elektra’s eventual self-help book about screwing like a starlet is described, “titillating and self-healing”—as if porn (and the desire to watch it) had to be a positive, good-for-you phenomenon rather than simply a natural, potentially enjoyable one.
Attempting to imbue low-grade material with affirmative profundity is also the goal of this film, which haphazardly strings together plot points about one-dimensional types whose introspection and use of big words is supposed to reveal underlying depth. That modus operandi is embodied by Elektra, an extreme-sex legend who reflects on her business, nature, and future with an intelligent thoughtfulness and eloquence that doesn’t jibe with her career choice, oft-referenced (but rarely seen) on-camera exploits, and irresponsible wild-cat druggie past. Imbued with incongruous qualities, many of them rarely found in those living a life like hers, she’s an unconvincing fantasy construct.
Elektra Luxx‘s tale spirals outward from its implausible central character to include a host of Women in Trouble‘s characters, most of whom exist in subplots that have scant bearing on the primary action at hand. Working with sitcom-grade material, Timothy Olyphant shows up as a private eye, Julianne Moore cameos as the Virgin Mary, Gordon-Levitt returns as a porn aficionado coping with Elektra’s retirement, and Adrianne Palicki and Emmanuelle Chriqui resume their intolerable BFF bickering in Mexico, where Palicki’s blond-bimbo cliché (she says “acoustic” instead of “autistic”!) finally confesses her true feelings for Chriqui’s whorish porn star, though not before Gutierrez indulges in a superfluous black-and-white flashback about Chriqui’s grandmother.
If his last effort promoted the value of honestly expressing feelings for the one you love, Gutierrez’s latest focuses on the universal longing for companionship, which Elektra, in a tossed-off cabaret-act scene, bluntly verbalizes by singing, “All I want to do Is fall in Love.” Elektra Luxx, however, is too dramatically slipshod, frivolous, and unbelievable to seriously consider the tumultuousness of genuine amour, with the film instead proving content to merely feign serious emotion while indulging in juvenile faux-risqué porn industry humor and, though nominally asserting that porn stars are more than just sex objects, transparently objectifying its leading ladies via drooling shots of their skimpily attired bodies.