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Review: Love Ranch

"There's no business like ho business!"'
By BRETT MICHEL  |  June 30, 2010
1.5 1.5 Stars

 

A worthwhile tale might lurk somewhere in Taylor Hackford's latest, but this flaccid look at the early days of Reno's legalized bordello business takes a fictionalized approach to history rather than the more fact-based strategy that enriched Hackford's Ray.

That 2004 film benefitted from an Oscar-winning performance by Jamie Foxx, and though this effort does offer reliable work by Helen Mirren (Hackford's wife), the closest anyone comes to singing is Joe Pesci — as ex-con brothel owner Charlie Bontempo, he serenades Grace (Mirren), his long-suffering wife, madam, and co-owner, with the following number: "There's no business like ho business!"

Sad to say, the script by journalist Mark Jacobson (his first) doesn't get much more inventive than that. Inspired by the lives of Mustang Ranch owners Joe and Sally Conforte, Jacobson focuses on a sudsy affair between Grace and a heavyweight boxer (Sergio Peris-Mencheta), with predictably murderous results.

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