Love Ranch (USA 2010, 117 min, dir: Taylor Hackford, cast: Helen Mirren, Joe Pesci, Sergio Peris-Mencheta).
Helen Mirren has a few sexy miles left in her even when surrounded by a trailer full of gorgeous Nevada whores half her age. She climbs into bed with Spanish hunk Sergio Peris-Mencheta (Armando) who is 30 years her junior.
Why would the actress who won an Oscar for playing Queen Elizabeth (The Queen) want to play the wife and partner of a desert brothel owner (Joe Pesci)? Probably for the same reason Meryl Streep followed It’s Complicated with The Iron Lady.
Actresses of a certain age (Mirren was born in 1945, Streep claims 1949) need to follow class with ass or visa versa. Otherwise they only get offered the roles for wordly wise, flinty, post menopausal grand dames. No one wants to be told, “you’d be perfect as Mother Teresa.”
Love Ranch is very very loosely based on the goings on at the Mustang Ranch near Las Vegas. Charlie (Joe Pesci) and Grace (Helen Mirren) run the joint successfully until Charlie decides they should branch out into the prize fight business. Armando is an Argentine boxer down on his luck. The real Sergio Peris-Mencheta ia actually a Spanish heart throb from Mardrid. He pucnhes his way into Grace’s tough-love heart. His performance is worth the movie.
Digesting the plot requires some teeth gnashing, but there are so many really good scenes you (almost) forgive the rest. Taylor Hackford started his career in documentaries, and maybe this vison of hot sex on the cold desert plateau based on a true story was a reminder of his doc days working for Public TV.
Or maybe it was a chance to give his wife, Helen Mirren, a sexy star turn to wash away the preception that she was more regal than Queen Elizabeth.
Funny how male English actors don’t suffer from being called Sir or Lord, but if a woman is called Dame she’s expected to wear long skirts and go teas. Love Ranch has Helen Mirren playing a nude love scene. See it; because it may be the last time anyone wants to look.