The Canyons (2013)
Starring Lindsay Lohan, James Deen, Nolan Funk, Amanda Brooks, Tenille Houston, and Gus Van Sant
Directed by Paul Schrader
The problem with The Canyons is that all of its characters are self-involved, obnoxious a-holes. They're certainly not enjoyable to watch. Considering that this is from the pen of Bret Easton Ellis, I'm not particularly surprised as my limited knowledge of Ellis is that these types of characters are his bread and butter. There's a slightly noir-ish tone to The Canyons with story centering around spoiled rich kid movie producer Christian (porn star James Deen) and his inability to trust his live-in girlfriend Tara (Lohan). The two have an odd, open relationship welcoming men and women back to their palatial L.A. home to partake in a variety of sexual relations. However, when Christian suspects Tara may be having a "real" relationship with someone other than his controlling self, he's not a happy camper.
While Lohan embodies the worn-down, world-weary, tough-around-the-edges Tara quite well, the same can't be said for James Deen. While he certainly tries, he can't quite get Ellis's words to come out sounding believable. Then again, to Deen's credit, I'm not quite sure anyone could succeed as the character of Christian does get saddled with much of film's attempt at creating "substance" and "meaning" by talking about what his character perceives as problems with society. This is where Ellis falters in that I have no desire to hear what these vapid characters have to say about anything. While I think it's supposed to be skewering the elite Hollywood mindset it depicts, it doesn't succeed.
The rest of the relatively unknown cast actually does a decent job, but the surprise of the film is Lohan. She definitely looks weathered here and a little worse for the wear, but this was a vehicle aptly made for her and her recent troubles. She channels a bit of the noir dames of the past and was honestly compelling to watch. Good luck to her in the future and here's hoping she can turn her life around.
The RyMickey Rating: C