Review: “Lovelace”

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“Lovelace” is a hit-and-miss film by directors Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, based on the memoir of infamous porn star Linda Lovelace. The film stars Amanda Seyfried, as the famed icon from the $600 million pornographic mega hit “Deep Throat” and an ever-repulsing Peter Sarsgaard as her coercive, abusive husband.

It’s films like “Lovelace” and the low-ceiling “Mamma Mia!” (2008) that keep Seyfried, a beautiful young actress, from becoming a Hollywood hit. In the midst of a hard-fought performance as Linda, Seyfried loses out in a film almost as cheesy as the pornography they’re reenacting on screen. It looks messy, trying to include all of the sex and abuse from Lovelace’s troubled past and at the cost of any meaningful dialogue whatsoever. Unfortunately, Seyfried’s dialogue is swallowed up like the character, not allowed to speak for herself except for one appearance on “Donahue” at the end.

To the credit of writer Andy Bellin, the film looks at an interesting contrast between the way the public perceived Linda’s day-to-day life to how it actually was. In the short, 93-minute film, we sure do spend a lot of time waiting for something to happen, though, and Bellin’s tendency to jump the timeline six years forward exposes a glaring disconnect in the story. It’s difficult to follow. Of course, Linda reminds us that she was only in the adult film industry for 17 days. Are we supposed to believe nothing else happened between multiple six-year spans?

Seyfried may be a respectable choice for Linda, but the producers didn’t do the film any favors by trotting out an embarrassment of riches in the cast. Any film that wants to surprise you by letting James Franco play Hugh Hefner is a film that makes you want to hurl. Moreover the filmmakers cast Adam Brody and Bobby Cannavale in roles they couldn’t do anything with. It’s a patchy sign of weakness for the film, which didn’t need a recognizable cast to tell a story.

“Lovelace”: ★1/2

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