Disclosure: I’m watching a Lucy ep before I dive whole-hog into this because I watched a trailer for TGE and it looks like it’s gonna be a painful evening. You can also watch that trailer here. Rotten Tomatoes didn’t seem to offer any glimmer of hope either, despite an overall 66% fresh rating. The audience review was down around 35% last time I looked. Although after I’m done I expect it may go down a little.
That’s a bad place to start from. Let’s reset.
If you don’t know anything about The Girlfriend Experience, here’s the skinny:
Set in the weeks leading up to the 2008 presidential election, “The Girlfriend Experience” is five days in the life of Chelsea (adult film star Sasha Grey in her mainstream film debut), an ultra high-end Manhattan call girl who offers more than sex to her clients, but companionship and conversation–the girlfriend experience. Chelsea thinks she has her life totally under control–she feels her future is secure because she runs her own business her own way, makes $2,000 an hour, and has a devoted boyfriend who accepts her lifestyle. But, when you’re in the business of meeting people, you never know who you’re going to meet.
Ok. That’s… there’s potential in there. And Steven Soderbergh knows how to hit it hard about half the time (Sex, Lies, and Videotape, Ocean’s Eleven, Erin Brockovich) and knows how to make something fun even when it craps out in the last act (Magic Mike, Behind the Candelabra) so maybe there’s something hiding in here that I’ll think about fondly later.
At any rate, an updated series based on this movie begins Sunday night on STARZ (which – is that a channel?) so maybe now is the time to soak in Sasha Grey‘s first, yet shockingly not last mainstream film role. Let’s dim the lights:
- Oh! We’re starting with a ‘mature audiences’ warning. Hulu means business.
- I don’t actually think I’ve ever watched a Hulu movie before. They’re always really not good movies.
- Oh. I get it now.
- I read somewhere that this was revolutionary because they shot it all with a crappy camera or something. It’s definitely going to be an affected style.
- I should be recording my face during this. I’m already just… jaw dropped. She is… it’s like she’s in a middle school play or something. Wow.
- BAAAHAHAHAHAHAH! HYPE GYM! I’m dead. That’s so fucking funny that they’re shooting at Hype. I love it.
- I’m really hoping this takes a turn soon because right now this movie is predicated on the notion that this woman with the emotional quality of cold toast is an “ultra high-end call girl.”
- She can’t talk.
- Wait. Is this a faux documentary? Who is she narrating to?
- Oh god she’s Doogie Howser-ing. She’s narrating into a computer journal. Gross. I’m so disappointed in this.
- Oh I see where the porn starts in this. It’s real estate porn. Her apartment is BANANAS. I feel like Liz Lemon being blown away that someone’s elevator opens into their apartment.
- Jesus. Sasha is wooden and awkward. She looks annoyed and tired in every single scene. This cannot be representative of what ultra high-end call girls are like. I want a refund. I want a refund FOR these guys.
- I’m not good at summarizing plot and story, so you’ll have to watch this or read about it or something. So far there’s basically very little of either.
- These conversations are so stilted. No humans talk like this.
- Now we’re meeting Tara, another UHECG. I can’t fathom a universe where I would pay money to be in the company of people like this. My brain just rejects the notion.
- I’ve checked the remaining time about five times in the last few minutes.
- There’s still almost an hour.
- OH MY GOD. They’re shooting in ANOTHER gym I worked for. What is this movie.
- There are literally marketing materials that I designed and had printed in the background of these shots.
- This is objectively bad. It’s almost as objectively bad as Sasha Grey’s posture.
- It was a mistake to hire actors to work around Sasha. It’s magnifying her lack of charisma.
- I swear I’m not this negative of a person. This is really hard to watch. I don’t even recommend you try it for yourself to find out.
- I’m really ragging on SG here, but I want to be clear that no one in this film is a person you would want to spend even an extended elevator ride with.
- I kind of can’t believe there’s 35 minutes left. I don’t know if I’m going to make it.
- Ok this scene is a great example of a scene I’m not ever in – “Chelsea” is being propositioned for a favorable review in exchange for sex. There’s never been a moment in my career where I thought twice about situations like this and there’s been more than a handful of times where I’ve walked myself right back out the door instead of “dealing with that” as Chelsea just did (spoiler – she fucked him, got a bad review anyway, and then was sad about it).
- I’d give anything for Channing Tatum to wander into this story and just gyrate a little bit.
- I wonder if there’s an argument to be made for this being terrible as a way to shame escorts or put them in their place or something. I don’t know what would ground that, but maybe Soderbergh wanted to make some “commentary” about sex work and so cast this pouty, depth-less sack of potatoes as the UHECG.
- If I take anything away from this, it’s that clients deserve to be treated better than this. I can’t imagine another business where this kind of behavior would be acceptable. I’m personally offended.
- The big climax of the film is happening right now and I had to stop tweeting to look up at the screen to realize that. Because it has exactly the same flavorless mashed potato consistency as all the rest of the movie.
- HOW ARE THERE STILL TWELVE MINUTES LEFT.
- I WISH I WEREN’T AWAKE ANYMORE.
- Excruciating and unimportant.
I should have stayed with Lucy.