Music producer Raymond Saxx (Goran Visnjic, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) has a drinking-and-drugging problem, which earns him an even bigger problem by Beverly Hills PD’s finest: a stay inside the titular ward of the L.A. County Jail. Dubbed by one of its residents as a “sanctuary for broken toys,” it’s the big cement room where the po-po segregate the homosexuals.
As he’s introduced to his new temporary home, Saxx is warned to beware the women in there, “because there are no women here.” It’s swarming with transvestites and transsexuals, all lorded over by Mousey, who’s anything but. Mousey (Mexican actress Kate del Castillo, brave and ballsy) is a terrifying presence, all scowls and pencilled eyebrows.
Loosely plotted, K-11 works best as depicting the inner workings of life behind bars, if exaggerated. Like many a women-in-prison picture of a bygone era, viewers get the expected scenes involving showers, sex and substances, but Jules Stewart’s directorial debut reflects more modern times with homemade tattoos and impromptu fashion shows.
What these elements add up to, if anything, is questionable. The film seems to be an exercise in excess. It’s too shapeless to make any tangible statement, which is kind of a surprise given the elder Stewart’s 25-year career as a script supervisor; this is also her first produced screenplay, which she has co-written with fellow neophyte Jared Kurt. Its ending leaves viewers asking, “And?”
Still, I can’t say I wasn’t entertained up to that point. Although ostensibly a drama, K-11 strikes me as a wickedly dark comedy. At least that how it’s played by del Castillo and some of the more able bodies among the cast, most notably Kevin Smith fixture Jason Mewes, as good as ever; Tiny Lister (Deebo of the Friday flicks) as a big ol’ baby of a child molester; and cake-taking Taken 2’s D.B. Sweeney as a corrupt sheriff’s deputy who treats those behind bars as a kid does candy behind glass: They all look so tasty!
Certainly, this bizarro circus is poised to be a cult favorite among the LGBT set, but it’s campy and kooky enough that it extends way beyond mere niche product. —Rod Lott