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Shortbus (Unrated Edition)

4.1 out of 5 stars 260 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

From the director of ‘Hedwig and the Angry Inch’ comes SHORTBUS, an exploration into the lives of several characters living in present-day New York as they navigate the comic and tragic intersections between love and sex. Male and female, straight and gay, the characters find one another – and eventually find themselves – when they all converge at a weekly underground salon called "Shortbus," a mad world of art, music, politics, and polysexual carnality. One of the true sensations of this year’s Cannes Film Festival, presents sex and sexuality as never before seen in mainstream entertainment, and promises to be one of the most talked-about films for months – and years – to come.

In his aim to make an honest film about sex, John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig and the Angry Inch) has taken a somewhat documentary approach to Shortbus, a film describing various New Yorkers' sexual pathos. Framed by shots roving a homemade diorama of the city, Shortbus is comprised of vignettes featuring actors who helped craft this story of people's disconnect in sexual endeavors. Jamie (PJ DeBoy) and James (Paul Dawson), a gay couple experiencing a lull in their relationship, visit Sophia (Sook-Yin Lee), a sex therapist whose inability to orgasm results in her clients inviting her to a sex club after which the film is titled. Sophia's husband, Rob (Raphael Barker), is also willing to experiment, so the two independently embark on adventures in self-pleasure. Dominatrix Severin (Lindsay Beamish) plays a crucial role in Sophia and Rob's lives, as her search for real humanity overlaps with their desire for passion. As each character's plot complicates, the viewer sees a similar melancholy bulldozing its way into these seemingly disparate lives. The depression is repeatedly used in comedic scenes, such as when James is asked on a date while still hospitalized for his attempted suicide. Yo La Tengo's score, which includes Animal Collective among others, lends this film a graceful ambience. Unlike porn, Shortbus has a resonance that encourages the viewer to consider one's own sex life as an important aspect of happiness. --Trinie Dalton

Special Features

  • Commentary by the filmmaker and cast
  • Deleted scenes with commentary
  • "Gifted and Talented: The Making of Shortbus" featurette
  • "How to Shoot Sex: A Docu-Primer"
  • Trailers

Product Details

  • Actors: Sook-Yin Lee, Paul Dawson, Lindsay Beamish, PJ DeBoy, Raphael Barker
  • Directors: John Cameron Mitchell
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Anamorphic
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Velocity / Thinkfilm
  • DVD Release Date: March 13, 2007
  • Run Time: 101 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (260 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,306 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Shortbus (Unrated Edition)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I will admit, One of the main reasons I wanted to see this movie was because of the buzz about it being one of the most sexually explicit movies ever made in the non-porn industry. I didn't really expect to find the movie interesting, I just wanted to see what everyone was talking about.

The first minute or so was nothing but explicit sex and I almost turned the movie off thinking it was going to be pointless, that this was all there was to the movie, but I had nothing better to do so I kept watching.

This movie is not porn, nor is it erotica. This movie IS an uncensored look at the truth about love and sex, and is probably one of the best movies I have ever seen. It is brutally honest, thought provoking, intense at times, and funny at others. These are characters that we can relate to, because they are real.

I can not say enough positive things about this movie, it is art, it is truth, it is exceptional.

It will definitely be a part of my DVD collection.
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Strange as it seems, I watched "This Film is Not Yet Rated" and "Shortbus" in the same day. And some part of me wondered ... did John Cameron Mitchell even bother to submit this to the MPAA? Not, of course, because he expected to receive a "passing-grade" from the prudish parents (and the two members of the clergy) that run the ratings and appeals board ... but simply to force the cloistered collection of puritans to watch couples attempting to negotiate their sexuality.

The fantastic ensemble cast is phenomenal at arousing laughter, compassion, and perhaps a few tears. Moreover, in a weird way, watching Sofia navigate the Shortbus haven is kind of like a return to high-school parties: everyone is making out, someone is crying in the closet, a couple of people are watching television, a group of desperate goofs are playing "spin the bottle," and your boyfriend (or girlfriend) is bored. Ohh, and you never leave very satisfied:)

What surprised me was how this film could have been painfully predictable, but was not. For instance, in the film's introduction, Sophia expresses that she has never climaxed with her husband. When she explores Shortbus, she meets Severin (a tortured dominatrix). When the two women bond and become intimate, the viewer is convinced that satisfaction will come from another woman. Not so (thank goodness!). In fact, she is betrayed by Severin's greedy lust. This is an unexpected, painful, and realistic turn for the film. I applaud the fact the Mitchell complicates sex ... there are no easy answers for Mitchell (Thank you!!)

Unlike some of the reviewers here, I do not think "less is more." We have lived with "less is more" for way too long. We Americans think sex is shameful ... and if any films include it, they better be hidden in back rooms ...
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Any supposedly straight (as opposed to a soft or hard pornographic film) that begins with a montage of sex scenes featuring both men and women in full disclosure is alright with me.

That I was witnessing this montage in a suburban multiplex (ok albeit an "art house") eating popcorn popped in Canola Oil and sipping a diet Sprite, sitting next to two blue hairs (who promptly exited, only after it might be noted, the completion scenes) only added to the surrealism of the situation.

Jamie (played by PJ DeBoy with a hang dog expression and tear welled eyes of which you soon grow weary) begins the film totally nude, filming himself auto fellating but blows the scene by doing just that too early.

Jamie is gay and a former street hustler and lives with James (Paul Dawson) in a decidedly one-way relationship: James loves Jamie and Jamie loves himself and says that he "feels nothing, nothing at all."

Jamie and James consult a sex therapist, Sofia (Sook Yin Lee) for help and guidance and during their first session, Sofia blurts out that she has never had an orgasm.

The solution? All three hoof it out to Shortbus: a sort of Plato's Retreat in which all manner of sex is performed in every position by every conceivable combination of men and women. Not all participate, no one is pressured, many just watch pretty much as we in the audience are doing: mouths agape, wondering how did Mitchell get the money to make this movie and more to the point: how did he get it released?

Justin Bond (played by himself), manager/chorus master/drum majorette of Shortbus describes and dissects the Club's ethos as "like the 60's but with less hope.
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I don't know if any of you heard the hoopla that was going around about this film, or even if you heard of it at all, but here it is in a nutshell: John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig and the Angry Inch) wanted to make a movie that doesn't turn sex into a dirty thing but at the same time doesn't hide sex either. The big controversy over Shortbus is the fact that it definitely does NOT hide the sex. It's all there in it's full glory with full penetration and everything...even an orgy or two.

Now that that's out of the way...Shortbus is not a porn movie. It's not even one of those high class Michael Lucas porn movies that have stories in between all the sex.

What it is is a story about a handful of people who meet each other and who are all broken in some way. The sex therapist who has never had an orgasm. The former hustler who thinks he's only worth what people paid for him. The dominatrix who longs to be an artist and live in a house.

They all meet and revolve around each other in a search for themselves. And it's a fun movie and frank and open and it celebrates life and sex and living...

I'm torn about the actual sex in the movie, however. I think the movie would've been just as effective--and much more palatable to the wide audience that it deserves--without the full on sex but at the same time the sex was part of the story and woven into it so well that you really don't think about it. You're certainly not going to be getting off to it even with the full on penetration and fellatio and rimming--including one hilarious scene where three characters are having sex and they all start singing the Star Spangled of them singing the song into the posterior of one of the others!--and S&M, etc.
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