Sunday, June 6, 2010

Finding Bliss

Film Review by Kam Williams

Headline: Aspiring Filmmaker Tries Porn Industry in Steamy Sitcom

Dartmouth grad Jody Balaban (Leelee Sobieski) has just finished her masters in filmmaking at NYU and is headed west fully expecting to launch a promising Hollywood career. But despite her having won an award for the best student film, she subsequently has a hard time getting a studio exec to take a serious look at the script she’s written and is ready to turn into a full-length feature.

In fact, the only directing job she manages to land in L.A. is directing traffic, so, against her better judgment, she decides to accept a position in the porn industry, no, not as an actress, but as the protégé of skin flick director Jeff Drake (Matthew Davis). However, Jody’s hasn’t given up hope of producing a legitimate picture entirely. Rather, her thinking is that she’ll be able to use the facilities at Grind Productions afterhours to shoot and edit her script at night.

It goes without saying that the previously prudish preppie’s plans go awry once she starts find herself not only falling in love with the boss, but even secretly enjoying salacious scenes she has to edit from his latest opus, Charlie’s Anals. And, as it turns out, Jeff is also an NYU alum who disappointed his family by not following in his father’s footsteps by becoming a doctor.

Will Jody and Jeff couple-up, or will she develop cold feet over the fact that most folks consider his profession sort of scummy? That is the pivotal question begging to be addressed in Finding Bliss, a romantic comedy written and directed by Julie Davis. No stranger to controversy, you may remember Ms. Davis’ previous picture, the equally-iconoclastic Amy’s Orgasm.

My primary issue with this new offering has to do with her casting so many actual porn stars, such as Ron Jeremy and Mr. Marcus. That sort of makes you scratch your head and wonder exactly what type of movie we’re dealing with here. Even comedian Jamie Kennedy gets into the act, appearing totally nude, sporting a semi-erect penis for a lingering full-frontal sequence. Yikes!

As unsavory as the setting probably sounds, Finding Bliss is otherwise a fairly-conventional and convincing, given how earnestly leads Leelee Sobieski and Matthew Davis throw themselves into their roles. They create some credible screen chemistry while Denise Richards and Kristen Johnston turn in decent support performances. A steamy sitcom which could have benefitted immeasurably from less carnality in favor of character development.

Finding flesh!

Good (2 stars)
Rated R for full frontal nudity, profanity, graphic sexuality and explicit dialogue.
Running time: 95 Minutes
Studio: Phase 4 Films

No comments: