Saturday, October 21, 2006


Today I saw Shortbus...what was supposed to be an innovative exploration of sex in cinema, but instead was a weak story played out in the lives of pretentious characters.

I wanted to like the film—I really did. I think that our American society is far too close to its Puritan roots with our attitudes toward sex in film, music and general media. And I was hoping that this daring venture would take a bit of the fear from audiences and prove that sex, like eating, sleeping, working—breathing—is simply a part of everyday life.

But then the writer/director (John Cameron Mitchell) had to go in and create ridiculous caricatures of people (an identity-starved dominatrix, a sex therapist that can't have an orgasm, gay partners who are alternately suicidal and unimaginably irritating, etc.) to demonstrate 'normal' problems and somehow justify money shots and porn-store toys to illustrate them.

I was not amused (or aroused).

And that's another problem I had with this movie. I was constantly playing 'hunt the genre' wondering every few frames whether or not this was intended to be a comedy, a drama, a mockumentary or an adult film. All I concluded was that it was definitely not an adult film because the sex wasn't remotely sexy.

I appreciate what Mitchell was trying to do, but to have an audience connect with his intentions, he should've invented people that everyday moviegoers could relate to (or at least believe in).

I hope this doesn't discourage other hopeful filmmakers from attempting similar feats because if the box office returns were disappointing, it wasn't the subject matter's fault, it was the story.

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