Cinema is littered with directors paying homage to other filmmakers, so far be it from us to take writer-director Sebastian Gutierrez to task for his own fanboy obsession. This ensemble piece about a group of women—daffy porn stars and prostitutes, uptight businesswomen, cuckolded therapists—all on the verge of nervous breakdowns, couldn’t be more indebted to Pedro Almodóvar, down to the use of Latin-tinged kitsch and the highly colorful set design. (His thank-you in the credits is superfluous.) Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but it can also draw highly unfavorable comparisons; if anything, this tone-deaf comedy makes even the older director’s more mediocre works look positively masterful. The film borrows beaucoup Almodóvarisms—multilayered hysterical heroines, a singular homo-ironic aesthetic—and reduces them to Podunk wink-wink camp and carping-harpy heroines.
Even if Women in Trouble didn’t keep bringing to mind a superior artist, the film would still be badly written (DOA tangents about cunnilingus and kink don’t make dialogue edgy, only vulgar), not to mention unevenly paced and an embarrassment to all involved. The fact that every female cast member is forced to play a scene in her skivvies may seem democratic, if slightly skeazy, but there’s simply no excuse for such a thorough wasting of XX-chromosomed talent.