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Geoff Cox’s DVDs: Lovelace, The Way Way Back, Pain & Gain

Lovelace

Lovelace

The biopic of 1970s porn star Linda Lovelace is probably a cleaned-up version of reality.

But LOVELACE (18: Lionsgate) is a surprisingly watchable and heartbreaking ‘true story’. Amanda Seyfried is excellent in this entertainingly sleazy, star-studded take on the tale.

Growing up in a household headed by her strict mother (Sharon Stone), Linda Boreman marries Chuck Traynor (Peter Sarsgaard), a scumbag who forces her into pornographic films.

Groundbreaking adult movie Deep Throat makes her an international star as Linda Lovelace, but there’s no escape from marital and career abuse.

The film expertly contrasts her glamorous reputation to the dark account of exploitation she revealed to the world years later.

Seyfried humanises the story with her remarkable performance along with Hank Azaria as porn director Gerry Damiano.

> If you admired the 2006 indie hit Little Miss Sunshine, you’ll get more than a hint of deja vu from coming-of-age comedy THE WAY WAY BACK (12: Twentieth Century Fox).

Not only does it borrow from the family-on-a-trip story, but two of the core cast members, Steve Carell and Toni Collette, are in strikingly similar roles.

Fourteen-year-old Duncan (Liam James) is dreading going on summer holiday with his ditzy mother, her overbearing boyfriend and his daughter.

Unable to fit in with his teen peer group, Duncan becomes a regular at the Water Wizz theme park where he forms an unlikely friendship with its eccentric manager (Sam Rockwell).

Although Rockwell gives it his best shot, it’s all rather dull when he’s not on screen.

Carell’s spiteful asides are darkly funny, but they stand out like a sore thumb in a movie that feels like a decade of bittersweet American comedy condensed into one hour and 45 minutes.

> Hyperactive comedy caper PAIN & GAIN (12: Paramount) is based on the supposedly true story of a Miami personal trainer.

He and two body-builder pals plot to get rich quick by kidnapping a wealthy businessman client and forcing him to sign over his fortune to them.

Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson and Anthony Mackie play the trio whose biceps are so much bigger than their brains that the scam seems doomed to failure.

And their plan does go awry when the hostage escapes and hires a relentless private detective to track them down.

The stars give it some welly, but the mix of comedy and violence makes for uncomfortable viewing. Indeed, there are moments that make you wish director Michael Bay had made another Transformers movie instead. Well, almost.

> A small-time dealer has to pick up a shipment of marijuana in Mexico and bring it back over the border in abrasive comedy WE’RE THE MILLERS (15: Warner). He’s forced to do this after his cash and stash are stolen, leaving him owing thousands to an old college buddy, now a major drug kingpin.

So he recruits a stripper (Jennifer Aniston) and two surly teens to pose as his holidaying family in a motor home. Aniston and Jason Sudeikis are a good pairing as the sham spouses, but the standout turn is from Will Poulter as their nerdy fake son.

 

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