The allure of stardom brings model-handsome wannabe Adam (Matthew Ludwinski) to Hollywood — and down some dubious moneymaking side roads into gay pornography and escorting — in writer-director Casper Andreas' cautionary showbiz tale "Going Down in La-La Land," which is based on a novel by Andy Zeffer.
But its Andreas' own attraction to the easy spotlight of warmed-over bitchy humor (courtesy Adam's gal pal roomie, played by Allison Lane), familiar plotting and by-the-numbers characterization that sinks this earnest, gay-contoured take on the evergreen making-it-big melodrama.
The shame is that even with the adult-film milieu and sex scenes there's an appealingly old-fashioned romantic polish to the directing style of Andreas (who gave himself the striking-then-silly part of the hero-tempting porn director). Also, Michael Medico's performance as a closeted sitcom star — whose service-arranged hook-up with Adam turns into a sweet yet fraught romance — is a charming, nuanced take on someone worried about making his private joys public.
But these minor pleasures can't make up for the ways "Going Down" settles for predictable tropes about fame-seeking when it could have fused 21st-century sexual mores and ripe-for-razzing starmaking politics into something much more potent.
"Going Down in La-La Land." No MPAA rating. Running time: 1 hour, 47 minutes. At Chinese 6 Theatres, Hollywood.