She’s like Frankenstein as Mary Shelly originally conceived the character… breathtakingly beautiful, yet still a monster no less.
To their credit, Paul Schrader, writer Bret Easton Ellis, and producer Braxton Pope cast Lindsay in the lead role when no one else would have her. She was at the very nadir of her once promising film career.
Therefore, watching the film, you can’t help but root for her–not her character, but her. Each time she appears on screen, and she mostly monopolizes it, the film becomes engrossing because you never know which Lindsay Lohan you’ll see.
At times, she’s very convincing as the conflicted and love-lorn Tara, an actress who is in a dysfunctional relationship with Christian (James Deen), a Hollywood trust fund baby who pretends to make movies so daddy won’t cut him off.
But the dialog is often so unnatural even she can’t pull it off, much less co-stars Tenille Houston, Amanda Brooks and Nolan Gerard Funk. Why is Lindsay even on the same set with them? Oh… right, she couldn’t get work anywhere else.
In his first mainstream role, porn star Deen proves his talent still mostly lies below his belt. (Yes, there’s a dong shot.)
Granted the film was shot on a shoe string budget; that still doesn’t excuse the terrible lighting and makeup. At times, Lindsay looks truly seductive. At others, especially during close ups, you’ll gasp.
She channels Divine, the transvestite actor filmmaker John Waters made famous in “Pink Flamingos.” What is with that eye makeup?
Lohan’s much ballyhooed nude scenes are way over-hyped. “The Canyons” is billed as an erotic thriller, but the sex scenes are neither erotic nor thrilling. If sex is this mechanical in Hollywood, it’s a wonder anyone gets laid. And, this is where the plot really breaks down.
Christian gets off watching Tara have sex with other guys while he films them. He also likes engaging in four-way, guy-on-guy, girl-on-girl sex. Plus, he’s having an affair on the side with his yoga instructor.
Yet, he becomes insanely jealous when he finds out Tara is sleeping with a young actor (Funk), whom she once dated. His jealously totally lacks credibility, yet it basically drives the plot.
When they’re not having sex, the characters are meeting for lunch, having drinks, or engrossed in their cell phones. Toss in a gratuitous murder and call it a wrap.
The opening credits is the best moment in the film. They roll over eerie shots of abandoned movie theaters. Beyond that, though, “The Canyons” has nothing to do with movie theaters, or making movies.
Hopefully, Lindsay will survive this film. She shows flashes of real acting ability and deserves a shot at something better. As for “The Canyons,” there isn’t one deep enough to toss this film into.