Comedy highlights quirky ensemble cast
Writer, director and producer Sebastian Gutierrez adds indie comedy to his long rĂ©sumĂ© of thriller and horror films with Women in Trouble.
Premiered at the 2009 South by Southwest Film Festival, Women in Trouble, which was shot in only 12 days, captures the modern dilemmas of women in an almost satirical manner. Gutierrez uses the unrealistic nature of the filmâs characters and storyline, and a raunchy humor, to create an enjoyable farce-like film that is driven by a female cast.
Despite the filmâs quick and witty script, Gutierrez owes much of the movieâs success to its talented cast. With the large female cast, the movie features Carla Gugino (Sin City), Connie Britton (Friday Night Lights), Adrianne Palicki (Friday Night Lights) and Sarah Clarke (24). The film even features Gutierrezâs daughter Isabelle Gutierrez as the only teen among the all-adult cast.
As for the men, Simon Baker (The Mentalist) and Joseph-Gordon Levitt (500 Days of Summer) play only supporting roles in the whole scheme of the film. Ironically enough, in Women in Trouble, Baker and Levittâs characters are among the butt of the jokes in the movie; especially Levitt, who plays an overly excited reporter in a short clip after the movieâs credits.
The film follows the life of 10 troubled women, including Elektra Luxx, a porn star who discovers she is pregnant; Clarke plays Maxine McPherson, a therapist dealing with her husbandâs affair with her patient; Britton portrays Doris, a woman whose niece is actually her daughter … and the list goes on.
Like the characters, the comedyâs storyline, which takes place over a span of a few days, features unlikely situations, including a gangâs pathetic attempt to kill a call girl at a lesbian bar after she witnesses a murder.
The long list of characters, thick plot and series of snippets that make up the film are almost suffocating at first. But once you adjust to the filmâs style, itâs apparent that the numerous characters and plot are crucial to the filmâs success. With each character heavily intertwined with the next, the exaggerated coincidences bring the women together.
Gutierrez uses these coincidences to establish the filmâs crude humor. For the audience, these improbable circumstances create interesting snippets of the lives of each woman â a glimpse into their individual troubles.
The filmâs female-centric nature addresses the issue of gender imbalance in Hollywood and films today.
âI think Hollywood right now is not particularly interested in the dramatic possibilities of female characters, which is a shame because their emotions are much more readily available than those of male characters,â Gutierrez said in a Q&A session last week.
Women in Trouble simple proves that a mostly females cast can create a successful raunchy comedy â a genre that normally features mostly men â making this film one of only few of its kind in the industry today. This made it easy for Gutierrez to recruit the star-studded cast.
âAll of the actresses in the movie were happy to be given material that required more from them than just being âthe girlfriend,â âthe wife,â or simply âthe girlâ in the movie,â Gutierrez said.
Even with the bar set a bit higher, the actresses proved they could be more than just ââthe girlâ in the movie.â
Specifically, Palickiâs performance as Holly, one of the more ditzy characters, is a standout. Palicki is able to portray the character as someone who understands that what she lacks in intelligence can be compensated by humor. Palickiâs character, in many ways, is humorous because she can roll with the punches and join in on the jokes rather than just take them.
Despite the castâs witty performances, by the end of the film, the numerous snippets create too much plot for Gutierrez to resolve in one film. Gutierrez leaves a few plotlines more unfinished than others. Although each storyline is brought to a stopping point, many questions are left unanswered.
The good news is that Gutierrez has finished the sequel to Women in Trouble, Elektra Luxx, which is the second installment in what Gutierrez plans to be a trilogy. According to Gutierrez, Elektra Luxx takes place a month after Women in Trouble and features some familiar characters with new ones as well.
In all, Gutierrez is able to create a raunchy comedy while straying from the standard Hollywood mold of a testosterone-driven cast.