The buzz surrounding The Girlfriend Experience is mostly generated because the star of the movie is an adult moviestar: Sasha Grey, who has quite a resumé and appeared in movies with titles like “Ass Eaters Unanimous 19” and “Buttman’s Stretch Class 2”. For her first in mainstream waters she could do a lot worse as the director is nobody other than Steven Soderberg who’s credits are of a lesser raunchier kind and include the three “Ocean” movies, the “Che” movies, Traffic, Out Of Sight and more. But unfortunately she could do a lot better as the script is rather dull.
And for those going in expecting to see some hardcore action in a mainstream movie: sorry guys, keep your money in your pockets because you ain’t going to find that kind of action in this film.
The plot could have supplied that kind of action though as Sasha Grey plays an Escort girl called Chelsea. By following her we get a look into the world of Hooker-reviewing, boyfriends with an open mind and the meeting with clients. Surprisingly these meets with clients are more about talking and filling in a role rather than supplying sex for money. This is part of what makes the movie a character study and yet the character that is studied is not so very interesting. The movie is also a period piece as it is set during the days leading up to the 2008 presidential election. It doesn;t do anything for the plot rather than giving Chelsea a reason to talk to her clients about investing in gold.
The movie doesn’t follow a straight line, but is mostly composed out of random scenes, a couple of them coming together later on the movie. This makes the movie rather hard to follow the first half. A couple of plotlines tying the story together include a writer interviewing Chelsea and her boyfriend on a plane to Vegas talking with some friends. One of the more important things in the plot is a fight about Chelsea wanting to go off with some guy for the weekend (not as a job) and how she can go up in the world of escorts.
Now I know that paper this all sounds delicious but Soderberg never goes for some easy exploitation or a laugh. It doesn;t help that Sasha Grey can’t actually act and delivers all her lines in the same manner. She brings no emotion or involvement to her part. Sure, the girl’s a looker but her talents are more in place in “I Wanna Bang Your Sister” than they are in here. She’s surrounded by capable actors so that makes it even clearer we aren’t watching a thespian. The high- or rather down-point of movie being an argument between her and her boyfriend. He puts his emotions into the scene while she just seems to be reading the lines.
The movie would have been better if it didn’t went for the artsy-fartsy way and gave us a story about the rise (and fall) of an escort, with an actress actually capable of acting. And no, I don’t consider faking an orgasm acting.
Some of you might be familiar with a TV-series called “Secret Diary of a Call Girl”. It’s a light drama series about the life of a call girl. In a very entertaining way we’re taken on a tour through her life including several plotpoints that occur in this movie as well including websites with reviews and boyfriends who do or do not accept her line of work. But the approach of that series is so much more fun than the down-beat low-key approach The Girlfriend Experience takes I actually advise everybody to take a look at that series rather than this movie. And those affraid to miss out on some titties, that TV show has them as well.