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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

The Canyons review: where’s the cheese?

The Canyons red light Lindsay Lohan

This pitiful would-be-sleazy melodrama is so terrible it can’t even manage to be cheesy.
I’m “biast” (pro): nothing

I’m “biast” (con): nothing

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

More like The Chasms. Chasms of awfulness. Of oh-my-god-ness. Of repulsiveness. Of hilarity. This pitiful would-be-sleazy melodrama is so terrible it isn’t even cheesy. How do you make a movie about bored rich people spying on one another and manipulating one another and having random sex with strangers and pretending to be blasé about making movies and not end up with screamingly trashy cheese? That’s a shocking lack of professionalism right there alone. Everyone onscreen — up to and including lost soul Lindsay Lohan (Machete) and porn star James Deen (Anal Buffet 8), whose talents would appear to be smaller than his physical endowments — actually appears to believe this is a serious drama requiring Solemnity and Art. He’s a movie producer (just to have something to do), she’s his girlfriend (because she is averse to work and addicted to shopping), he imagines she’s having a thing with the star of his movie (Nolan Funk: House at the End of the Street), and he’s right. Cue entitled jealousy. Cue tantrums thrown all around. Every other scene is like a XXX scenario, complete with outrageously stilted performances, that fizzles out, though not always before the incredibly unsexy sex starts; the rest are like a naive child’s idea of Hollywood “sophistication,” pretty people lolling around the Hollywood Hills drinking and smoking and telling one another things like “Do you remember those days? No, probably not, because you’re still living them” and “I’m really sorry I didn’t congratulate you on starting your own PR company” [actual lines of dialog]. It is all too plausible that the idiotically sexist script, which degrades men and women alike, is by Bret Easton Ellis (The Rules of Attraction). But it is not possible that this cheap-looking piece of junk is from a veteran filmmaker, certainly not Paul Schrader (Affliction).

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The Canyons (2013)
US/Can release: Aug 2 2013 (VOD same day)
UK/Ire release: May 9 2014

Flick Filosopher Real Rating: rated C2-C (contains coincidence and connivance but no cheese)
MPAA: not rated
BBFC: rated 18 (strong sex, bloody injury)

viewed at home on a small screen

official site | IMDb
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine | Rotten Tomatoes

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