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Saturday, April 21st

Upstairs at 8:30 PM

(2006, 102 min)

Country: U.S.

Director: John Cameron Mitchell

Studio: Thinkfilm

John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig and the Angry Inch) must be pretty damned proud of his radical film that mixes explicit sex and nudity with a moving story of life transformations. This one's essential!


Stunningly moving and surprisingly funny, this radically explicit exploration of sexuality and relationships is one of the best films of the year. We're fairly certain there will be no Oscar® nominations for Shortbus with its non-simulated scenes of self-gratification, oral, anal and vaginal fucking between men and men, men and women and women and women – all portrayed quite naturally. While mall Cineplex audiences might be horrified, we know our audience will be chomping at the bit to own this film in their collections. The film opens with a hottie giving himself head, and the scene comes complete with a full messy load on his eager face! John Cameron Mitchell follows up on his masterpiece Hedwig and the Angry Inch with another film that's guaranteed to stick in your memory for years.

The story, loose as it may be, is centered around two couples, one straight and one gay. Sofia and Rob live on the Manhattan's Upper East Side. She's a sex therapist; he's lost in career limbo. We are shown them having rip-roaring sex, and only later learn that Sophia has never had an orgasm. James and Jamie love each other intently but James is depressed and they are considering opening their relationship. They see Sophia with their desires. Sophia spills the beans about orgasm-free life. The boys turn Sophia on to a club in Brooklyn, Shortbus. Held each weekend the club has several environments: a music room (the performances were captured live for the film); a women's discussion room; a social room where all are invited; and an orgy room the likes of which we haven't seen since the '70s. It is here at Shortbus that life-changing drama ensues for all the participants in this cinematic treat. Sex is merely the catalyst for change and the engine that powers the club.

We would be remiss if we didn't get into the nitty-gritty of the sex, it's a major part of the film, and we know you want to hear about it. The gorgeous James (Dawson) sucks himself to a splattering climax. Sophia and Rob have an intense sexual session with positions we've never seen before. James and Jamie have a threesome with Ceth (Brannan) that blew our minds, while the boys blew their wads, on screen. The boys have a sort-of stalker Caleb (Stickles) who gets to fuck James with abandon. And then there's the orgy room with all it's wicked delights. The men in the film appear to have been cast with three criteria – cuteness, massive dick size and acting skills. You will not be disappointed with the nudity and sex in this special film.

We've used sex to sell you this movie, but it's got lots more than that. There are life lessons, great music from Yo La Tengo, hysterical jokes, a wry Mayor Koch impersonation and mysterious blackouts. Without question, we think this one belongs in your collection.

-- Scott Cranin