ELEKTRA LUXX Still on track to be the George Cukor of the stroke-movie set, Sebastian Gutierrez follows up 2009's Women in Trouble with this first of two sequels. Elektra Luxx picks up where its predecessor left off, with the titular, pregnant ex–porn starlet (Carla Gugino, Gutierrez's real-life squeeze) still coming to terms with her rock-star boyfriend's death and eking out a living teaching a sex course to housewives. Tangents featuring a lovelorn fellow performer (Adrianne Palicki) and a worshipful blogger (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) also continue from the first film, while Timothy Olyphant, new to the trilogy, turns up in backwater–Cary Grant mode. Elektra Luxx's episodic structure and candy-apple compositions make for a good time, even if Gutierrez lacks the narrative and syntactical muscle to pull off the sex-positive Tarantino-esque farce he seems to be after. But while milking humor and pathos from porn is a fine idea, Elektra Luxx is too reverent to land any real punches: Gutierrez mounts a solid defense of the form (“If it wasn't for Swedish movies in the '60s, all our movies today would be about robots”), but his gooey-centered heroine embodies the porn industry rather than transcends it, and ultimately plays as that hoariest of Hollywood whores — the kind with a heart of gold. (Mark Holcomb) (Nuart)

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