The Love Ranch—Directed by Taylor Hackford
Starring Helen Mirren, Joe Pesci, Sergio Peris-Mencheta 1hr:57 min rated R
(B) I had a special interest in this film because Joe Pesci and I grew up in the same neighborhood and shared the same friends. Joe and I played pinnacle with my ex-husband in the old neighborhood, in fact. Although I am usually drawn to movies based on a true story, there is always something special about seeing a friend from my past on the big screen. Both Helen Mirren as the strong but vulnerable madam, and Jo Pesci as her selfish, manipulative husband gave convincing performances in this Taylor Hackford film. I think the screenplay could have been better. With stars like Mirren and Pesci, there could have been more meat to the story. Sergio Peris-Mencheta as the Argentine boxer handled his part well and was easy on the eyes.
I give this one three binoculars.
(G) I was most struck by Helen Mirren’s great choice of hard-to-place mid-western accent. Her ability to adapt to a role is nothing short of miraculous. Joe Pesci played himself, but it is a character that we all love, even though we also fear him for his potential explosiveness. The supporting cast was virtually perfect. However, I want to give honorable mentions to Gina Gershon, Rick Gomez and M.C. Gainey. As for the script, I think this is a good example of how the truth often gets in the way of good story telling. Just because something happened in a certain way, it doesn’t mean that it will have the suspense, mystery and emotional impact to carry the audience for two hours or more. An attempt is made to wrap up all the inconsistencies and questions we might have with a last minute narrative by Mirren about “love.” I can’t say that I did not enjoy this film. I liked it. How can you not like Mirren or Pesci? I just felt that it had a chance to be great and did not quite make the mark. I always am a little suspicious of a film, when the trailer tells the whole story and gives away the plotline (watch the trailer below). I give this one 2 ½ binoculars. So, rounding up, this one gets a three from the Bifocals Reviewers.