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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Drama > Sexuality > Shortbus – Unrated (DVD-Video)

Shortbus – Unrated (DVD-Video)


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: C     Film: C



John Cameron Mitchell’s cinema is one of sexual limits and dysfunctions, but instead of dealing with the concepts seriously or with a measure of maturity, his works hit a serio-comic wall where he is more self-amused than saying anything important and just showing something different is not sufficient for good filmmaking.  It was an issue in the overrated Hedwig & The Angry Inch and shows up with new troubles in Shortbus (2005) whose title refers to a place of group sex but offers the bandwagon approach and attitude he has that always lacks focus.


We get the lives of an unhappy gay man taping himself doing @#%&! crazy things, a sex therapist without an orgasm and an S&M send-up (most are) with a yuppie guy and goofy gal.  None of this ever adds up and just being graphic and daring has no point to it.  When it is all over, only Mitchell knows what he is trying to say.  In a supplement, he says he was trying to say something positive about sex because some graphically sexual films from Europe were begin graphic and negative.


We have no idea what films he meant, but this results in an indifferent conclusion after 102 oddly unmemorable minutes and it becomes a XXX film with respectability and almost-as-bad acting.  As for those Eurofilms, Michael Winterbottom’s 9 Songs (reviewed elsewhere on this site) is far superior and certainly more positive with graphic sex that is taken seriously.  Guess he missed that one.


The anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image is not too sharp or clear, but is enough so to see how graphic much of the sex is.  The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is dialogue-based and surprisingly front-heavy with the mix really stretching out multi-channel.  Extras include trailers for this and other THINKFilm releases, feature length commentary with Mitchell & many cast members, a making of piece and shooting sex piece.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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