Movie Reviews (such as they are)

Friday, August 10, 2007


I'm not quite sure now how Shortbus came to my attention, but it interested me because it combined narrative storytelling with hardcore sex scenes. This has become something of the vogue in certain circles of late, and in theory I applaud it. It is something that I foresaw coming (no pun intended) many years ago. Jeez, I hate how, in mainstream cinema, especially Hollywood, after fucking, people insist on wrapping a sheet around them to go to the bathroom. It's so lame. Anyway, I've seen a few of these "controversial" films and thought I'd give this one a go, too.

Since I like to go into films knowing as little about them as possible, I really didn't know what to expect. The name Shortbus makes you think of the transportation used by "special needs" kids to US schools, so I'm thinking Little Miss Sunshine meets Lars von Trier's The Idiots. (Now there's a pitch!) But it wasn't that. Instead it's something altogether different.

The thrust (oops, there we go again) of the story is a female couples counsellor who can't achieve orgasm. One of her couples, two gay men, recommend her to a club called Shortbus, where lots of sex is on the agenda. Experimental, gay, straight... you name it, you get to see it. (Well, not quite, but you catch my drift, I'm sure.)

There are other stories, too. The aforementioned gay couple; a miserable dominatrix; a voyeur. Throw in some home-video-making, too, and it's all happening.

Thing is, though, the stories are all extremely slight. And if one were to remove all the hardcore sex scenes (which, incidentally, are not at all titillating) , there really wouldn't be very much to the film at all.

It's not a complete waste of time, but you get the feeling it could have been oh so much better. I won't mention the acting, which in some cases was not great, simply because clearly this is a film made in a cooperative type of style, using friends, acquaintances, and people with an interest in making something different from the norm. For that alone they should be commended. It seems ungenerous, but I'll give this film 50 out of 100.

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