In the mid-70s, near Reno, Grace Bontempo runs the Love Ranch, a legal brothel. Her husband Charlie, with big dreams, a felony record, and an aptitude for spending and infidelity, is the brothel's public face. On the day Grace's doctor tells her she has cancer in an advanced state, Charlie takes on new client, Argentine boxer Armando Bruza, Charlie's ticket to fame: he hopes to promote a fight with Ali. Because of Charlie's felonies, Grace is Bruza's titular manager. With the IRS and the church ladies circling the business, Grace takes the manager's role seriously and, along the way, Bruza charms her. Secrets play out: is there love at the Love Ranch? How will Charlie respond?Written by
Something went wrong with this Taylor Hackford film which showed on cable recently. It boasts a good cast and it is a story based on a true story. The right elements should have come together to make this entry worth watching. The culprit seems to lie in the screenplay written by Mark Jacobson, which does not take advantage of the subject he was treating.
The story of Grace and Charley Bontempo, the owners of the brothel in the Nevada desert, lent itself for a lot more than comes out in the story. The owners had apparently a good relationship, although it becomes apparent there was no love left between them as the story begins. Charley had been cheating on Grace with anyone of the prostitutes in the place. Grace, the brain behind the business, finds out about the cancer she had to deal with, something that evidently has an effect on her dealings with their business.
Charley, a first class wheeler-dealer, sees an opportunity when Armando Bruza, an Argentine boxer, he discovers with a potential to go places. Grace did not appreciate that Bruza will move to the Love Motel, as Charley wants. Bruza develops an affection for the older woman, who takes the plunge, falling in love with the boxer, something that will lead into fatal consequences.
The main reason for watching "Love Ranch" is Helen Mirren's performance. She makes a case for Grace, the jaded madam of the house of ill repute. At times she seems not to be comfortable with her character, the way the script asks her to play her. Joe Pesci does his routine of being a wise guy. It is fun to watch him utter those four letter words he spices his vocabulary with. Sergio Peris-Mencheta is Bruza, the boxer who fell for the older woman. Gina Gershon does not have much to do.
3 of 6 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this