Love Ranch

Rated 2.0

Shelved since 2008 despite its art-house darling star (Helen Mirren) and a recently Oscar-nominated director (Taylor Hackford), Love Ranch is one of the many films victimized by bankrupt producer/entrepreneur David Bergstein. Much like The Edge of Love, another 2008 release held up by Bergstein’s legal troubles, Love Ranch feels ambitious but incomplete (perhaps the result of Bergstein stealing production funds to pay off his gambling debts). The film tells a fictionalized version of Reno’s Mustang Ranch, the first licensed brothel in Nevada, with Mirren as the hard-boiled madam and the ghost of Joe Pesci as her husband/head pimp. Just as the ranch is facing a morals assault by local religious groups, the cancer-stricken Mirren falls for the Argentinean boxer who is training at their facility. It’s wan and predictable, with Hackford spackling plot holes with period pop songs.