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Film Review: Shortbus

You know a movie’s going to rock when the first five minutes include male frontal nudity, penetrative sex, and a guy giving himself a blowjob. Hot damn!

Shortbus treads a fine line between porn and not-porn. Some people would consider it porn based solely on the fact that it features actual penetration. I do not consider it porn because it features an actual plot as well as a brilliant cast of well-developed characters. Whatever you want to call it, this film is about, or more accurately, a celebration of sexuality in all of its myriad manifestations. It’s got real sex, real orgasms, and some real characters. What’s not to love?

We should expect nothing less from John Cameron Mitchell, director of Hedwig and the Angry Inch (which I also heartily recommend). The film centers on Sofia (Sook-Yin Lee), a sex therapist/couples counselor who is pre-orgasmic (she’s never had an orgasm). This little bit of irony provides plenty of humor throughout the film. After confessing this condition to two of her clients known as the Two Jamies (Paul Dawson and PJ DeBoy), the Jamies introduce her to the world of Shortbus - an underground lounge of fleshy revelry. At Shortbus, Sofia strikes up an unlikely friendship with a cranky dominatrix named Severin (Lindsay Beamish), who agrees to help Sofia achieve orgasm if Sofia will help her have a real human interaction.

I won’t go into the plot anymore than that, because you can find plenty more info on IMDB or the official Shortbus website. I found out that many of the characters in the film are not actors per se but real people, and that much of the film was based on improvisation. My favorite character in the entire film was Justin Bond, and so I was particularly thrilled to learn that he plays himself. He is incredibly entertaining and I love knowing that he is out there somewhere being his glorious self. He also had some of the best lines in the film, including “[Shortbus] is just like the sixties. Only with less hope.”

There are several cameos from other New York night-life personalities whom I’m not familiar with, although I did recognize Bitch (who plays herself) from Bitch and Animal.

Here’s a YouTube clip from the end of the movie where Justin Bond sings “In the End” and a marching band shows up to accompany him. The audio is a little mismatched, but it’s still fun to watch. Also, when I saw the movie I was sure the marching band must be Mucca Pazza, but it turns out that they’re the Hungry Marching Band. Who knew that there’s more than one punk rock marching band on earth?

Watch the trailer, and if you can still resist seeing this film, then you are dead to me;) I’ve added it to my Amazon wishlist and I hope to own it someday soon.

Filed under: Reviews | May 16th, 2007 Comments (3)

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