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Love Ranch (2010)



Average Rating: 3.7/10
Reviews Counted: 51
Fresh: 6 | Rotten: 45

Despite its saucy setup and the always marvelous Helen Mirren, Love Ranch is disappointingly flaccid.


Average Rating: 3.5/10
Critic Reviews: 23
Fresh: 3 | Rotten: 20

Despite its saucy setup and the always marvelous Helen Mirren, Love Ranch is disappointingly flaccid.



liked it
Average Rating: 2.6/5
User Ratings: 1,195

My Rating

Movie Info

"Love Ranch" is a bittersweet love story that turns explosive when the players in a romantic triangle lose control and cross the line. Set in the late-1970s, the film depicts larger than life personalities living on the edge, Grace Bontempo and Charlie Bontempo, the husband and wife team who own and run Nevada's first legalized brothel. Their lives are suddenly altered when Armando Bruza, a husky, world famous heavy weight boxer from South America is brought to the Ranch to train as part of



Nov 9, 2010


E1 Entertainment

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All Critics (51) | Top Critics (23) | Fresh (6) | Rotten (45)

Once Hackford has committed to the characters and to their compelling (if dark) world, he has nowhere to go but to some predecided facts that might not be the most interesting end to the characters' journey.

July 29, 2010 Full Review Source: Arizona Republic
Arizona Republic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The only vaguely interesting aspect to this film is the subplot involving a past-his-prime Argentinian heavyweight owned by Charlie.

July 9, 2010 Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor
Christian Science Monitor
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Even Helen Mirren on a bad day is better than nine out of ten American film queens polluting movie screens on any given Sunday, but really, this is one time she should have stayed in bed.

July 7, 2010 Full Review Source: New York Observer
New York Observer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Try though she might, Mirren can't save the hackneyed and singularly unerotic story...

July 6, 2010 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It starts flat and gets so tired.

July 6, 2010 Full Review Source: At the Movies
At the Movies
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Gives you only a superficial, clichéd picture of brothel life.

July 2, 2010
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Overall, a complete misfire given the talent involved.

August 30, 2012 Full Review Source: The National
The National

The picture feels edited with a chainsaw, reducing Hackford's story of desire to crummy Lifetime Movie theatrics, wasting the numerous gifts of Helen Mirren along the way.

November 3, 2010 Full Review Source:

A misbegotten jumble that clumsily synthesizes various incongruous elements.

October 12, 2010 Full Review Source: Lessons of Darkness
Lessons of Darkness

Presumably the aim was to meld dark humor with passionate ardor and high drama, but the tone here is lumpy, crass and overheated.

August 17, 2010 Full Review Source: One Guy's Opinion
One Guy's Opinion

It's the story of a marriage but not the one on screen. Taylor Hackford tarnishes wife Helen Mirren's illustrious streak but gets a paycheck. Horrible TV script.

August 5, 2010 Full Review Source:

If Hackford & Co. really and truly wanted to evoke the Sleazy Seventies, they should have studied Pam Grier's filmography like a religious text.

July 15, 2010 Full Review Source: East Bay Express
East Bay Express

Hackford's films have been uneven, but he's generally an intelligent and tasteful director. His last film, Ray, may have been his best. Unfortunately, Love Ranch is almost certainly his worst.

July 14, 2010 Full Review Source: Brand X
Brand X

A worthwhile tale might lurk somewhere in Taylor Hackford's latest, but this flaccid look at the early days of Reno's legalized bordello business takes a fictionalized approach to history...

July 6, 2010 Full Review Source: Boston Phoenix
Boston Phoenix

Familiar to the point of blandness. But then again, every time The Mirren walks into view ...

July 6, 2010 Full Review Source: Windy City Times
Windy City Times

It's all melodrama and yelling. The material is way beneath the actors... at least you get to see Pesci do "angry Joe" again.

July 6, 2010 Full Review Source: Can Magazine
Can Magazine

Love Ranch proves to be a provocative, highly entertaining and surprisingly touching peek into a unique world movies don't often explore.

July 2, 2010 Full Review Source: Boxoffice Magazine | Comments (3)
Boxoffice Magazine

A hackneyed drama in which even Helen Mirren can't make much out of her bewildered character.

July 1, 2010 Full Review
Spirituality and Practice

Screenwriter Mark Jacobson has done little to make this love triangle clearer than mud. The script is one trite cliche after another, and Pesci is little more than a caricature of himself in past roles.

July 1, 2010 Full Review
Kaplan vs. Kaplan

Audience Reviews for Love Ranch

Fair movie. Joe Pesci brings nothing new to his character. It's as if I were watching another actor imitating Joe Pesci in a thug role. The only reason to watch this is for Helen Mirren. Why she took this part is anyone's guess, but even she didn't make this movie interesting...even though she tried.
October 11, 2011

Super Reviewer

This film is a fictionalized account of the story of the first legal brothel in Nevada. It had the potential to be an excellent and insightful film. What it turns out to be though, is a half-assed, tired, and bland film that, even though it does have some good scenes and moments, is a really big disappointment and doesn't do justice to a story that deserves it.

I mostly place blame on the script. The story is fine, but the film is in dire need of a rewrite. The film decides to not really give a narrative that tells the history of the place, and instead focuses on a few of the characters (in depth) in the context of the ranch. It would be a better film had it been a more balanced account that provides a history of the ranch, as well as great insights into the people who worked there- kinda like Casino or Boogie Nights. In fact, for many reasons I don't even need to explain, this made me think about Casino a lot, and I kinda wished I was watching that instead.

Even with the characters who get focused on a lot, they still seems a little thin, and could have been developed a lot mroe and better. There's almost an hour of deleted scenes on the DVD, and while watchjing those, I saw plenty of stuff that could have been kept in the film (with some other stuff taken out). It made me realize that they didn't really have the film planned out fully. EIther that, or they should have just lobbied to go all and make an epic instead of having to pick and choose (and do so sloppily).

This film isn't terrible though, even if I am ripping into it. The cast is good, and it is nice to see Joe Pesci come out of retirement. Too bad he, Mirren, Sergio Peris-Mencheta (a guy who does a really great job) and all the others couldn't save it. I'm just disappointed that the film is just all over the place and doesn't do what it could have given the subject matter and particular story. Hackford an okay director, but I don't know what the hell went wrong here, or what he and the rest were thinking. I wasn't bored by this film, but all the crap that's wrong with it makes me feel like I should just split it down the middle and give it an even "Gentleman's C".
July 26, 2011
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

Cast: Helen Mirren, Joe Pesci, Sergio Peris-Mencheta, Gina Gershon, Ling Bai, Taryn Manning, Scout Taylor-Compton, Elise Neal, Bryan Cranston, Rick Gomez, Gil Birmingham

Director: Taylor Hackford

Summary: Inspired by the story of the couple who introduced legalized prostitution to Nevada with the opening of their Mustang Ranch brothel, this Taylor Hackford-directed drama focuses on the devastating consequences of infidelity in the land of sex for pay. Helen Mirren stars as Grace Bontempo; Joe Pesci plays her husband, Charlie; and Sergio Peris-Mencheta plays the boxer who, on entering their world, sets into motion a violent chain of events.

My Thoughts: "Although the story isn't well written and the chemistry between Mirren and Pesci is more awkward then believable, I still found the story interesting. I adore Helen Mirren and am willing to watch anything she is in. But this film was not up to her potential. Sergio Peris-Mencheta as Bruza, was likable and interesting, but some of his parts felt a little to over dramatic He needed to bring it down a notch. There's a decent supporting cast as well. But overall, the script isn't great and the story is a bit all over the place trying to fit in many things. But the story mostly focuses on the deteriorating relationship between Grace and Charlie. By far not the greatest film I've seen this year, but still not the worse."
December 2, 2010

Super Reviewer

In "Love Ranch," Charlie(Joe Pesci) and Grace(Helen Mirren) are a married couple who a run a brothel together near Reno, Nevada. As besieged as they are by religious elements that seek to shut them down, Charlie disversifies their interests by buying the gambling debts of Armando Bruza(Sergio Peris-Mencheta), a once promising boxer. His idea is for Armando to fight his way back into contention and to challenge Muhammad Ali for the heavyweight crown. The only problem is that Charlie is a convicted felon and hence cannot manage him. So, he puts Grace in charge. As it turns out, she might not have that much time left which she learns from her doctor(Harve Presnell).

Unexpectedly the unorthodox pairing of Joe Pesci and Helen Mirren does not create a massive implosion and actually works quite well. He is not that bad of an actor and, despite being acting royalty, she is unpretentious enough to have fun in the role. Sadly, that's about the only thing that truly works in this mess of a movie which may have once sounded like a great idea but could not find the right tone in front of the camera. Maybe it is about seeking respectability in the new west but it is not really about either Charlie or Armando who drive most of the action. Nor do any of the working women stand out in any way. Grace takes center stage but mostly through default as she is a passive, thinly drawn character who only achieves any depth through the massive force of will of Helen Mirren.
November 17, 2011
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

    1. Grace: Amid all the lies, I knew the truth. That we had it, for a moment, love and truth together. How many people can say that?
    – Submitted by Rochelle D (3 years ago)
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