Metascore
37

Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 23 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 23
  2. Negative: 10 out of 23
  1. 50
    The script fails to persuade me this story needed to be told. It should have been trashier or more operatic, maybe. I dunno. It exists in that middle space of films that accurately reflect that which has little need to be reflected.
  2. Taylor Hackford, fails to squeeze the tiniest bit of juice, sexy or comic or otherwise, out of the chintzy-libertine locale.
  3. 63
    Mirren maintains her class throughout Love Ranch. She may deserve another Oscar just for keeping a straight face while reciting a ridiculous speech about the Donner Pass tragedy on her way to a tryst with her character's lover.
  4. 63
    "GoodFellas" Oscar winner Pesci, who hasn't appeared onscreen in a major role since 1998's "Lethal Weapon 4," is a dynamo of conflicting emotions. And Mirren, bawdy in ways that erase all memory of her award-winning role as Elizabeth II in "The Queen," is magnificent.
  5. It is a colossal bomb, an epic miscalculation, an excuse for actor self-indulgence and for what sounds very much like bad improvisation.
  6. Though based in truth, Mark Jacobson's script is built on age-old clich├ęs. And nobody knows how to end the film, so it just fizzles out.
  7. Maybe Hackford, and his screenwriter Mark Jacobson, were attempting to convey the dullness of vice. If so, they vastly overcorrected. But what about the dullness of the performances?
  8. In Ms. Mirren's first film to be directed by her husband, Taylor Hackford, since "White Nights" in 1985, her formidable dramatic resources can't camouflage flat writing that eventually veers into gloppy sentimentality. At times even Ms. Mirren, who adopts a regionless American accent, seems uncomfortable.
  9. 25
    Material this banal needs a madman of David Lynch proportions to incinerate it. Hackford leaves it intact, forcing us to regard a car he doesn't have the guts or skill to crash.
  10. Reviewed by: Scott Tobias
    50
    Mirren cuts the figure of a bodice-ripping paperback heroine, a withering desert flower who blooms in the arms of a swarthy prizefighter roughly half her age. Mirren embodies the fantasy beautifully -- but Hackford's feature-length valentine to her all but sabotages the rest of the movie.
  11. 30
    Director Taylor Hackford ("Ray") seems to be aiming for a big "Boogie Nights" social canvas, though the movie's risible prize-fight sequence is more reminiscent of the later "Rocky" sequels.
  12. What could have been a juicy, pulpy noir, based loosely on the real-life 1976 Mustang Ranch love triangle involving Joe and Sally Conforte and Sally's boxer paramour, instead has the dramatic consistency of rice milk.
  13. Love Ranch bounces between tongue-in-cheek wackiness and soapy melodrama while rarely hitting a true note.
  14. 42
    So with two great, ideally cast actors and such potentially fascinating subject matter, why does Love Ranch feel like a clumsy TV movie?
  15. Thanks to the great Helen Mirren as the wife and Spanish actor Sergio Peris-Mencheta as the boxer, the film does create a convincing portrait of a late-flourishing love that takes everyone by surprise.
  16. A marvelous thought, credited to Orson Welles: You can handle shit with velvet gloves, but the gloves only get shittier; the shit doesn't get glovier. As wondrous as the regal Helen Mirren can be, it's a sad day when her queenly demeanor gets dunked in doo-doo.
  17. 25
    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.
  18. The grand Mirren is, truth be told, miscast and Pesci is misdirected as Grace and Charlie Bontempo.
  19. Hackford's pacing throughout is continuously off, with scenes extending several beats too long, his two leads adrift and bored.
  20. 60
    Mirren tricked out in mid-70's pimp wear -- ahead of her time, she even brandishes a cane -- has a certain charm, but novelty alone can't keep Love Ranch's tiresome tropes and plodding storyline from dragging the film down through the Nevada dust.
  21. Love Ranch proves to be a provocative, highly entertaining and surprisingly touching peek into a unique world movies don't often explore.
  22. 50
    There's a great film hiding somewhere in the wreckage of "Love Ranch."
  23. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    50
    A tawdry look at the early days of Nevada's legalized brothel business that plays more like Lifetime fodder than the Martin Scorsese pictures that serve as its model.
User Score
6.3

Generally favorable reviews- based on 10 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 2
  2. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. Mar 16, 2014
    5
    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. Full Review »
  2. Mar 14, 2014
    6
    Love Ranch isn't a bad movie- it flows smoothly, has good performances, and has a sharp, tight script. But the movie seems a but pointless. Why did this particular story need to be told? Full Review »