In the mid-70s, near Reno, Grace Bontempo runs the Love Ranch, a legal brothel. Her husband Charlie, with big dreams, a felony record, and an aptitude for spending and infidelity, is the brothel's public face. On the day Grace's doctor tells her she has cancer in an advanced state, Charlie takes on new client, Argentine boxer Armando Bruza, Charlie's ticket to fame: he hopes to promote a fight with Ali. Because of Charlie's felonies, Grace is Bruza's titular manager. With the IRS and the church ladies circling the business, Grace takes the manager's role seriously and, along the way, Bruza charms her. Secrets play out: is there love at the Love Ranch? How will Charlie respond?Written by
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Love Ranch is a fictionalized bio-pic, loosely based on the true story of Joe & Sally Conforte. The Conforte's were the first people to open a legalized brothel in the state of Nevada and for a while, became local celebrities, until it all came crashing down. It was an interesting story, following the lives of two people, that most of us don't know anything about. As for the film, while it over-dramatized a lot of the events, it really fails to make much of an impact. There are scenes that make these two look like gangsters, others that make them look like royalty, and several that just makes them look like trailer trash. The truth is that it was hard to really decipher the true character of these people and figure out what they were really like. I was mildly interested in the story, but what I really wanted to see was the return of Joe Pesci. Since retiring in 1999, Pesci had a cameo in one film, but this is was his first leading role since Lethal Weapon 4. For the living legend, it was as if he had never stopped, giving a terrific performance. The only disappointing thing was that they kept Pesci's classic, profanity laced tirades to a minimum, but other than that, he was really terrific. Helen Mirren on the other hands kind of annoyed me in this film. She's always been an amazing actress, but her performance was really all over the place. I guess it has to do with the emotional state of the woman she was playing, but to be honest I was very unimpressed by what I saw from her. While it was great to see Joe Pesci back on the big screen, the Love Ranch was really just a mass of confusion that was all over the place. It was nearly impossible to separate the truth from the Hollywood bull, when personalities and situations are changing so rapidly. If you love Joe Pesci, you won't want to miss his comeback, but the film that brought him out of retirement, really isn't anything special.
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