Nakey, Nakey

by Alan Rapp on October 13, 2006

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Shortbus
  • IMDB: link

ShortbusSex is a compelling subject in film, books, and television.  In discussing, and showing, sex you know you’ve got the audiences attention.  Shortbus knows how to grab us early, but soon fails to perform to expectations as it blows it’s wad in the first eight minutes.

The film opens with a voyeuristic journey as the film, seemingly at random, looks through windows into the sexual lives of a select few of the millions in New York City.  The shock and strangeness of the situation immediately will make you take notice and, depending on your moral stance, possibly be appalled.

It’s the perfect choice to bring you into this world.  Sadly though, once here, writer/director John Cameron Mitchell has very little to say.

The problem begins when the voyeuristic view into other people’s bedrooms ends, and the audience is forced to watch a formulaic soap opera drama more appropriate for late night cable-TV than in a theatrical film.

We get a sex-therapist who can’t have an orgasm (Sook-Yin Lee), a gay couple (Paul Dawson, PJ DeBoy) considering introducing a third member into their bed (Jay Brannan), and a dominatrix (Lindsay Beamish) who finds it incapable to trust or love.

None of these stories are that interesting, or original despite the small twists Mitchell tries to add.  The acting is standard, the sex rather placidly unmoving, and the discussion of the sex even more so.  It’s about the same thing you’d find on a regular night of Cinemax After Dark.

Though the opening scenes tease you with a wild voyeuristic journey, what we get is rather pedestrian with a few hardcore scenes added in.  The film is unrated due to its graphic nature, and so the big movie theaters won’t touch it with a ten-foot…pole.  The film does make a valid distinction between sex and love and has a interesting take on suicide, but it’s all buried under flacid storylines.  Shortbus is an open and nonjugemental film, but sadly it never takes the big chances (other than showing weenies and ta-ta’s) that would have made it something special, rather than just a passable sideshow.

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