The Canyons

The Canyons
Directed by Paul Schrader
Starring Lindsay Lohan, James Deen, Nolan Gerard Funk
Written by Bret Easton Ellis
On DVD May 12th, 2014

by Katharine Fry

I consider myself to be quite porn naive. I only heard of A-list porn star Stoya a few weeks ago through a friend’s Masters research, eventually going on to read Stoya’s blog that mostly focuses on cats with mentions of her boyfriend ‘Daddy’. Daddy is in fact none other than male porn star James Deen, co-star – though much less than second billing in the credits – of La Lohan’s return in Bret Easton Ellis’ The Canyons.

I know some of the rudimentary plots of pornos – “The washing machine’s broken, can you send a repair man?”, “Ma’am did you know you were speeding?” “No Officer, I’m sorry.” “Today we’re auditioning for a leading lady.” The Canyons goes with this great “other” Hollywood trope and no further, with dialogue and emoting more wooden than James Deen’s considerable member. There’s a plot, sort of, it unfolds over 3 days with lots of gang bangs, Lohan pouts a-plenty, and a very convenient we-all-dated-each-other-before-at-different-times that’s rather like a Cruel Intentions taking itself far too seriously, or many a season of Melrose Place.

La Lohan and Deen live in his remote luxury pad in the hills. He’s very controlling and not very trusting. She likes to be taken care of but wants to escape. Enter other lovers for each of them. I feel slightly cheapened by my ability to offer these lines of formulaic sex romp drama. I can only assume Bret Easton Ellis had some serious redecorating costs and penned this erotic thriller on a sheet of toilet paper.

There were giggles galore during the screening, generally during ‘emotional’ or violent climaxes. Yes, in a laughing at not with way. The couple sat behind us clearly thought we were in a Soho special – judging by the squeezing, squelching and smooching sounds, they may have got the most out of 90 minutes of drivel so dull it barely merits description.

No wonder they cancelled the press conference, apparently due to talent ‘issues’. Indeed, when we hit cocktail hour and found ourselves next to The Canyons cast, one LL was conspicuously absent. Still, we got to drool over Deen (accompanied by the delectable Stoya) and Nolan Gerard Funk, both substantially more animated and believable as humans off-camera.

There’s a scene early on where La Lohan (or what’s left of her post-face-hatchet plastic surgery) meets a love rival for a drink. A UPS truck looks like it’s heading straight for them. I’m on the edge of my seat waiting for their obliteration and my liberation. But no, at least another hour of dead eyes and fake boobs with nary a money shot to make it worth your while.

Cracking soundtrack though.

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