The Ranch Movie Review

Anyone who's ever seen any documentary footage of real Nevada brothels (or has been to one personally -- hey, we don't judge), knows that the ladies that typically work there are hardly mistakable for Hollywood starlets.

Never mind that. If you're willing to suspend disbelief -- completely and utterly -- you might find The Ranch a curious diversion.

Finding information about The Ranch is a bit tricky -- and given the presence of reasonably big star Amy Madigan and director Susan Seidelman (Desperately Seeking Susan), there's a small amount of credibility here. It appears that Madigan was meant to anchor this not as a movie but as a TV series for HBO or Showtime (based on the copious amount of nudity and the setting, seeing as it's set in a brothel and all). The show didn't make it, so rather than drop the footage into the dumpster, the producers figured they'd release it as a 90-minute "movie" on DVD. The result is a film that feels an awful lot like a long TV show -- with no real closure to any of the half-dozen stories it starts up with.

The two fleshiest stories revolve around one hooker (Samantha Ferris) who is retiring to get married, only that doesn't go as planned, and a bit about a former Hollywood actress (Nicki Micheaux) run out of town and forced into prostitution as a last resort. The remainder of the gals at the Diamond Ranch get small stories of their own, from the business-is-business madam (Madigan) to the raunchy lady in the schoolgirl outfit (Paige Moss) to the slightly older divorcee (Jessica Collins) who has to balance social engagements (and the inevitable spotting of a client away from the ranch) and motherhood with, well, screwing guys for money. Every girl (sans Madigan) has her day in the bedroom: Those looking for cheesecake have come to the right place, especially with the unrated version of the DVD.

The film/show is well-acted and shows some promise -- it's something a lot of people might have watched as a regular series, though no one would have admitted it. Unfortunately, as a movie, the whole affair is a bit cockeyed, and it just doesn't come off like a movie. Still, considering they put My Big Fat Greek Life on DVD, you could do worse than checking out this aborted TV series on home video, as long as you treat it as such.


Comments

The Ranch Rating

" OK "

Rating: NR, 2004

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