aboard Shortbus, and this is what you’ll
get: full frontal and head on, dick and
pussy, hard and soft. And threesomes going
at it, with tears, moans, and sweat. And
more than threesomes: whole rooms full of
roving hands and mouths. You get sex talk
and sex play – as well the national anthem.
And a good amount of hot bodies – but
equally important, there’s sweetness and
sadness in this tale of a young gay male
couple in New York learning how to find
faith in their love.
Oh, and if that’s not enough, there’s also a
sex therapist learning how to find her
orgasm. And Justin Bond sings. And Murray
And most importantly, this is what you won’t
get in Shortbus: homicide and genocide, war
and destruction. Instead, this is a world of
people learning how to love – rather than
destroy. But neither is John Cameron
Mitchell allowing us easy answers. Shortbus
is not a unequivocal paean to endless sexual
hedonism. Rather, Mitchell allows his
characters to experience the sense of
connectiveness which can happen through
physicality. Sex, not as a cure-all, but sex
as a conduit – and particularly to laughter.
Knowing how and when to laugh at the
two-headed, hump-backed monster in your bed.
Throughout the film, as the characters lives
intertwine, there’s a lot of tenderness and
sharing, thereby implicitly promulgating the
notion of conversation as foreplay. And very
nearly as much as the film celebrates sex,
Shortbus celebrates the idea of New York as
a playground, an island in the sea,
untethered to intolerant societal
restrictions. Happy endings are available in
New York – and not only in bed.