November 3, 2009

Justify My Netflix: The Girlfriend Experience

(Like many Netflix customers, I too can get quite lax with the timely watching and returning of my movies, which of course defeats the entire purpose of having a flat-rate rental plan in the first place. To combat that, I am now writing standardized mini-reviews of each and every movie I end up watching through Netflix, both instantly and on DVD. Don't forget, all previous 'Justify My Netflix' reviews can be found on CCLaP's main movie page.)

The Girlfriend Experience

Today's movie: The Girlfriend Experience, 2009 (Amazon | IMDB | Netflix | Wikipedia)

Why I added it to my queue: Because it's one of those notorious low-budget digital-video experiments that Steven Soderbergh kicks out once every couple of years, in this case a character drama focusing on an ultra-expensive prostitute trying to thrive in the midst of the 2008 financial meltdown (played by real-life porn star and hipster obsession Sasha Grey, the detail that got this movie most of its publicity); and although I find Soderbergh's experimental movies to be real hit-and-miss, they always seem to be worth at least checking out.

The reality: UGH. I don't know if I maybe just watched this on the wrong day, but I ended up having to turn off The Girlfriend Experience not even a half-hour into it, so disgusted as I was by the cocaine-snorting oblivious frat-boy characters populating this dour mess of a film, and the cold, emotionless, conniving way that all these people spend their entire lives trying to figure out how to scam each other more and more and more and more. I mean, yes, that's the entire point -- it's Soderbergh's unflinching look at exactly what went wrong at the end of the Bush Years, as told through the filter of this capitalism-as-lifestyle whore stuck in the middle of all these ultra-rich stockbrokers who are all in the process of going down in flames; but maybe it's because I actually had to ride out this financial meltdown a year ago, I don't know, but I just was absolutely not up for a two-hour movie reminding me all over again how such people completely f-cked over our country, just so they could keep affording their weekend private-jet jaunts to Vegas and their thousand-dollar-an-hour sessions with whores exactly like Sasha Grey's calculating character here. I have a feeling that if I watch this in another decade from now, I'll find it brilliant; but coming so soon after The Troubles like right now, I unfortunately found The Girlfriend Experience nearly unwatchable.

Strangest piece of trivia: This movie was shot for just a little over a million dollars, featuring a cast of mostly non-professionals.

Worth your time? Yes, but only if you can watch it without getting emotionally invested like I did

Filed by Jason Pettus at 1:40 PM, November 3, 2009. Filed under: Movies | Reviews |