Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh

Those who missed the memo that Los Angeles is an amoral swamp achurn with bottom feeders of every stripe will find Jason Freeland's ensemble feature an eye-opener. But it's familiar stuff if you've sampled the vast body of work devoted to LA-dammerung, from Nathaniel West's 1939 Day of the Locust to Robert Altman and Michale Tolkin's THE PLAYER (1992).

The film's literal garden of tainted earthly delights is a hydroponic pot farm, which cheerfully amoral stripper-turned-cutthroat realtor Sally St. Claire (Vinessa Shaw), cultivates. Among those who sample its reality fogging wares are Sally's scummy ex and rival, realtor and amateur porn-magnate Davey (Christopher Allport); homeless cutie-pie Sammy (Erik Scott Smith), an aspiring rocker who blew into town without a dime or a plan; 15-year-old April (Willa Holland), who's fleeing a groping stepfather but doesn’t want to live with her dildo-crazy lesbian cousin; generously endowed Nebraska naïf Nathan (Alex Cendese), Sally's sexually confused assistant; gloomy amateur artist Todd (Richard Gunn), who inherited a bundle from his mother and is too obsessed with internet porn – especially old pictures of Sally – to form real relationships; stoner Carlos (Jeff Newman); sleazy photographer Anthony (Patrick Fischler), who sells porn under the clever pseudonym "I.B. Horny;" motor-mouthed wannabe agent Joey Zane (Ross Patterson), who's coasting on his famous father's reputation; and poor little rich girl Becky (Fiona Dourif), who takes a desultory shine to Sammy but can't keep him because her aunt is an uptight bitch.

Everyone photographs or is photographed, because Angel City is all about looks and surface; most sell their bodies and all sell their souls: If they were characters the spectacle of their self degradation might be poignant. But they're just types, so it's hard to care, especially since the lesson of Ricky Nelson's bittersweet song – that self respect counts for more than celebrity – is lost on them.