Bruce Vilanch Grabs Amusing Cameo In “Going Down in La-La Land”

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New York Times
April 19, 2012
New in Los Angeles, and Willing to Do Anything for Money

January 21, 2008 - 7th Annual WeHo Awards
January 21, 2008 - 7th Annual WeHo Awards (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Going Down in La-La Land” is a familiar enough story of a young and beautiful person hoping to make it big in Hollywood only to attain disillusionment. Here the new arrival is Adam (Matthew Ludwinski), a gay would-be actor who rooms with Candy (Allison Lane), a friend-girl from New York who’s also looking for her big break — or sugar daddy — while explaining the dos and don’ts of networking in Los Angeles. After Adam scrambles for work of any sort, low-level connections lead to gay pornography and its apparent sideline, escort servicing.

Based on a novel by Andy Zeffer and directed by Casper Andreas, “Going Down” falls well short of compelling, either as a coming-of-age film, a satire or a romance. When called on to do more than take off his shirt or bat his eyes, the hunky Mr. Ludwinski is impressively limited in his emotional range. Ms. Lane is just barely adequate as the designated comedy relief. Mr. Andreas (who also plays Nick, Adam’s guide into the adult industry) has more success framing and lighting this unrated film’s R-rated bedroom scenes.

The best moments — there aren’t many — recall bits from “Boogie Nights,” which chronicled similar adventures in California’s heterosexual skin trade in the 1970s and ‘80s. (There’s even a shout-out to William H. Macy, one of its stars.) Bruce Vilanch has an amusing cameo as the director of Adam’s first porn flick, and Michael Medico is appealingly believable as the closeted leading man of a popular sitcom who becomes Adam’s romantic interest after a couple of “dates.” Despite its lurid subject “Going Down” is quite old-school, at its core a conventional uninspired fantasy of love conquering all.

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