On the heels of his terrifically inventive and entertaining “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” filmmaker John Cameron Mitchell delves into sexual dysfunctionality and experimentation among a tiny cross section of Manhattanites in “Shortbus.”
Sofia (Sook-Yin Lee) is a couples’ therapist who could use some therapy of her own. She has never had an orgasm and her husband, Rob (Raphael Baker), isn’t capable of changing that fact. Two of her clients, James and Jamie (Paul Dawson and PJ DeBoy), have been in a years long gay relationship but are getting tired of their monogamy and are thinking of bringing another man into their bed. When she tells them about her own problem they tell her about an upcoming party at a local club, Shortbus, where anything goes, sexually, for its straight, gay and lesbian clientele.
Sofia doesn’t know what to expect at the party when she meets Severin (Lindsay Beamish), a dominatrix who can give her the insight she needs to have the orgasm that has been missing in her life. James and Jamie meet Ceth (Jay Brannan) and get it on as a threesome. But, getting what you want doesn’t always mean you get what you really need and everyone’s life gets complicated.
Shortbus” starts off with some of the most graphic sex – straight, gay and autoerotic – that I have seen in a film that does not carry the moniker “adult entertainment.” But, Mitchell’s sophomore writer/director gig is not just about sex, though there are copious amounts of it throughout. (Warning: if you are the least bit prudish then I recommend you give this one wide berth.) It is about finding oneself emotionally in a world where that is not always an easy thing to do. Being a real person in a real world where you might just find happiness in the most unlikely places is Mitchell’s message.
John Cameron Mitchell is proving to be a talented and unique filmmaker who is willing to take chances with his provocative material and no holds barred style. His “Shortbus” is sexually explicit, yes, but it is more about the people portrayed and how they cope with their ever-changing lives as they find themselves. With two distinctly different movies under his belt it makes you wonder what Mitchell will come up with next. I wait with anticipation and give his latest work a B.Laura:
Laura did not see this film.
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