LINDSAY LOHAN   JAMES DEEN   NOLAN GERARD FUNK   

THE CANYONS

 Basically, this is a “skin-o-max” film in the guise of a feature film. With a $250,000 budget, all sorts of news about how dramatic and obstinate Lohan was on set (demanding the entire crew get naked before she filmed her nude scenes), not to mention the first feature film for porn star James Deen. The Canyons is a mess, trying to self-reflect on the type of pretend actors with pretty faces pretending they will make it famous one day. Director Paul Schrader fumbles through this screenplay by Bret Easton Ellis (American Psycho) pretending it’s a film noir, or some unique curtain peeling of the dark side of low budget movie business. Guess what? We already know how sleazy and disgusting things are.

Christian (Deen) has money to burn, so he has invested in a low budget slasher film to satisfy his father and retain his trust fund. He has cast the latest farm boy-turned bartender from Michigan, wanna-be actor Ryan (Funk) for the lead after his personal assistant Gina (Amanda Brooks). Turns out Ryan knows how to play the game in Hollywood, dropping his pants for any director who will cast him and cheating on Gina with Christian’s latest fling Tara (Lohan). Even though he pimps her out for home movies, Christian will do anything to expose Tara’s relationship with Ryan and retain his control over everything in his life.

Superficiality is the theme of The Canyons; quasi-beautiful people doing what they want to get what they want. Except they aren’t; I have encountered many a person like the characters portrayed in the film. If there is one thing this script understands and explores, it’s the desperation of those wanting to be in the business. The movie talks like an episode of The O.C. and that isn’t surprising since the entire cast have little to no real acting experience (this is Deen’s first non-porn film).

The only reason you are reading this review, and this film isn’t already in the ‘straight to video section’, is the fact that Lohan represents some bottom of the barrel ticket value and they can likely score some quick revenue as it’s released on VOD. With loads of male and female nudity, The Canyons aims to entice with bodies more than impress with story. The story, however, unravels into an implausible thriller without any thrills. In the end it’s another desperate and sad attempt to resurrect the train wreck that is Lohan’s career.

Final Thought – Feels as cheap as it looks.

Grade C-

By: Dustin Chase