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If you made "Boogie Nights" on the budget of an actual porno movie, you might get "King Cobra," a lurid and unenlightening peek at a real-life crime in the gay-porn world.
Fresh-faced Sean Paul Lockhart (played by Garrett Clayton) arrives off the bus from San Diego in 2005 to audition for Stephen (Christian Slater), the director/producer of the gay porn company Cobra Video. Stephen grooms Sean into a porn star under the name Brent Corrigan but when Sean demands more money and tries to break from Stephen, he finds out that Stephen owns the copyright on the name Brent Corrigan.
That story parallels another couple, Joe (James Franco) and Harlow (Keegan Allen, from "Pretty Little Liars"), who run a small gay porn franchise and want to team up with Sean, and are willing to get violent with Stephen to make it happen.
Director/writer Justin Kelly tries to paint Sean and Stephen as birds of a feather, each hiding their gay lives from their loved ones (Molly Ringwald plays Stephen's suburban sister, while Alicia Silverstone appears as Sean's worried mom). But Kelly, so eager to emulate "Boogie Nights," doesn't allow his characters to become more than thin stereotypes in a story that plods to its grim and obvious conclusion.
Opening Friday, Nov. 11, at the Tower Theatre; not rated, but probably R for sex scenes, violence, drug use and language; 92 minutes.