Casper Andreas, director of Slutty Summer and The Big Gay Musical, returns with Going Down In La La Land, a dramatic comedy based on a novel by Andy Zeffer, looking at the highs and lows of trying to find success in LA.
Adam (Matthew Ludwinski – who looks like he just fell out of a Calvin Klein advert) arrives in Los Angeles to live with his friend Candy (Allison Lane). Like Candy, Adam wants to find La La Land success in the world of film and TV, but with no credits or contacts, even getting a side job to pay the bills proves incredibly difficult. After a stint at a very anal talent agency, an increasingly cash-strapped Adam agrees to take a job at an assistant at a gay porn firm.
Initially Adam is certain that he’ll only work behind the scenes, but soon the lure of cash leads to nude photos, then a solo jerk-off video, a porn scene and prostitution, each of which he knows will make it more difficult if he ever hits the legit big time. Just as he’s about to become a big shot in porn, he gets a high paying deal to sleep with a TV star, which leads to love and all the problems of trying to have a relationship in the closet. If that weren’t enough to deal with, there’s also Adam’s sometime boyfriend Nick, who’s getting ever deeper into drugs.
There’s certainly a lot going on in Going Down In La La Land. Indeed at times it’s a bit too much, so that it has a tendency to be a bit too episodic for its own good, with plot threads and characters that don’t really go as far as they perhaps should have, simply because there isn’t time. It’s also similar to Andreas’ Big Gay Musical in that it has a propensity for after-the-fact emotional exposition, so that you only really learn the character’s motivations and the journey they’ve been on after they’ve been on it, and the character then announces what it’s meant to them.
While these might sound like major flaws, they’re not that bad really. While a lot of films leave you wondering what you’re meant to be thinking or speculating how someone emotionally got from A to B, Going Down In La La Land never does that, even if it sometimes leaves the explanation a bit late. On the plus side it’s often witty, fast-paced and has an entertaining if slightly well-worn plot (although given a slightly fresher feel by its gay slant). It also has plenty of sexy guys, with Matthew Ludwinski spending about half the movie in various states of undress.
On its own, Adam going from fresh faced new boy in town to prostitute would have been rather underwhelming – largely because it’s meant to be a major emotional downward spiral for the character as his dreams get further away even while the cash gets ever better, but it doesn’t really feel as big an issue for the character as it supposedly is. However once he starts his romance with a major TV star, the film’s emotional punch kicks up a gear and it becomes increasingly involving. Allison Lane as Candy is also a lot of fun, who has her own descent into the sexier side of LA when she tries to sell her panties and gets her own slave.
If nothing else, I could have happily watched Matthew Ludwinski doing nothing but hanging around with his shirt off (indeed quite how sexy he is on the DVD cover is worth more than a glance), but luckily there’s more to Going Down In La La Land than that, making it well worth a look.
Overall Verdict: It may have flaws and the plot adds little to the trying-to-find-success-in-LA subgenre, but Going Down In La La Land’s got a good sense of humour, some sexy moments, hot guys and towards the ends becomes very involving.
Reviewer: Tim Isaac