VOD Review - Going Down in La-La Land

Matthew Ludwinski in
"Going Down in La-La Land"
Actor-filmmaker Casper Andreas has adapted Going Down in La-La Land from Andy Zeffer's 2006 novel of the same name. It's centered on a gorgeous young stage actor named Adam Zeller who moves from New York to Los Angeles to pursue a film and/or TV career but who gets easily seduced into doing pornography.

In addition to writing and directing, Andreas also co-stars as Nick, the photographer and director who discovers Adam and is the one who brings him into the porn business. Andreas is like the gay Edward Burns but with a Swedish accent. Andreas typically plays a role on-screen in almost all of his films, and not always a leading role. With the exception of his directorial debut Slutty Summer (2004), Nick is probably the most demanding role Andreas has given himself.

Yet, Adam is the center of the story, and the majority of Adam's problems are those of tons of aspiring actors. His pursuit of his career isn't given much time before it's dismissed, but we do get a sense of how tough it is for an actor in Hollywood.

Porn is looked at as an easy alternative and a way of making quick cash, so is being a male escort or essentially a prostitute. One of his clients is another actor named John Vastelli, played by Michael Medico.

Adam and John fall in love with one another and it doesn't solve or address Adam's initial problems with regard to his acting career. Andreas' movie then becomes all about this Pretty Woman (1990) romance. Only, Adam isn't in as dire straits as Julia Roberts' character. Adam supposedly has talent and acting skills. Yet, we never see Adam apply those skills. We get no sense of his abilities on stage or on screen.

I understand how the point is that Adam's love for another human being supersedes his love of acting or Hollywood. Another point made in this movie is the issue of homophobia in Hollywood. This movie was made and released in 2011 and obviously Zeffer's book was written five years prior. There's still relevance to it, but it is dated a little bit because in the time since Zeffer's book, we have had openly gay actors as leads on hit TV shows like How I Met Your Mother, Modern Family and Glee, as well as openly gay actors in big-budget films like Zachary Quinto in Star Trek (2009).

Andreas is able to have some fun with Allison Lane who plays Candy. Candy is Adam's female best friend who despite her marital problems gives Adam a place to stay until he makes it big in Hollywood. She's also an aspiring actor who goes about things in a different way, a way that's more bold and more comical. Other than that, Andreas' movie doesn't do much more than exploit Matthew Ludwinski who plays Adam.

Ludwinski has a killer face and body, and, for all we know, this is all Adam has as well. Throughout all that happens, Adam doesn't try to make any assertions otherwise. It might be a self-esteem problem, but Adam accepts this exploitation of his face and body pretty easily. It makes sense why Nick would want to latch onto that, but we have no clue as to why John falls in love with Adam.

Three Stars out of Five.
Not Rated but recommended for mature audiences.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 47 mins.


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