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|Index||23 reviews in total|
I saw this at Slamdance and I really enjoyed it.
It's about a struggling filmmaker (Leelee S) who takes a job editing porn, but it's really more about her character's journey into her own issues (of the past and present) ... and the fact that this self-discovery takes place amidst the porn industry, well, that adds a good dose of humor and a bit of sex.
There's some laugh out loud moments, usually in the form of shock/crude humor or irony. There's also some drama and romance mixed in there, so it's honestly hard to classify it to one genre of film.
It's a lower-budget indie, but it has a great cinematic look with great performances by all the actors. Jamie Kennedy adds some air-headed humor, and Kristen Johnston adds some cutting humor (loved her). The actor opposite Leelee (Matthew Davis) initial appears as a jaded, cynical character, but of course, there is more beneath the surface and it's rewarding to see his character slowly unveil.
Fun movie, overall. Why an 8 and not a 10? I guess my only criticism is that I got a touch bored somewhere around the middle of the film. Perhaps the shock of the shock humor had lost it's shocking value by that point but we weren't yet to the meaty drama. I don't know. To me, it kind of lagged briefly before getting back on track.
But that's a small thing. Most of the time, I "found bliss" when watching FINDING BLISS.
"Finding Bliss" is just a middle-of-the-road, soft-core film about a
young film-maker struggling to succeed in Hollywood. Unfortunately it
doesn't play out much better than just a student film itself.
It begins with every cliché and plot advance you expect to find in a chick flick. Our heroine has struggled with finding romance because she wears glasses and a ponytail. It doesn't matter that Leelee Sobieski is one of the most beautiful women on the planet, glasses and a ponytail equates with ugly. When she arrives in Hollywood the only place she can find a job is at a porn production company. We then succeed with every porn-associated joke done before. "He directed Charlie's Angels?!" our heroine asks incredulously, the response: "No, he directed Charlie's Anals". Don't worry, there's a lot more jokes along those lines.
This film really doesn't do anything wrong. The characters are fine, the actors are all cute, the storyline is engaging enough and it flows quickly. But they did all of that with over-used and tiresome jokes that just aren't that funny anymore. Every turn in the plot was telegraphed so clearly that the few inventive elements were completely predictable and expected. I found "Finding Bliss" to just be a Hollywood-reflective soft-core film that is not nearly as insightful as it was supposed to be.
Finding Bliss is a fun, clever, entertaining, and very unique peek at the "porn" business as seen through the eyes of a wannabe filmmaker. The story centers on Jody, who gets awarded "most likely to succeed" at her film school graduation, only to find out that her dreams of success in Hollywood may turn out to be, well just that, dreams. Through a series of both fortunate and unfortunate events, Jody finds herself working at Grind Productions, a purveyor of adult fare looking to crossover into mainstream entertainment. Circumstances then convince Jody, and the audience, that this is her best hope. Jody will offer her creative abilities to co-write and edit Grind's new crossover features and then secretly utilize the Grind facilities, gear, and "actors", to create her breakout independent feature. Porn and mainstream start off like apples and oranges, but as the story progresses, the lines begin to blur and Jody finds herself rethinking some of her preconceived notions about the biz, both Porn and Mainstream. This is a romantic comedy, and steers clear of some of the darker elements as presented in Boogie Nights and Zac and Miri. The sexuality and language are for laughs and not for shock, making this a great date night movie for adults. LeeLee Sobieski is great as Jody, and shows that if given the part, she can carry a movie. Matt Davis as Jeff Drake, the award winning Porn director brings great depth to his character and his complex past and present. The chemistry between Leelee and Matt is obvious. Jamie Kennedy's talents are well suited for his character Dick (literally and figuratively), and the rest of the cast in no particular order Kristen Johnston, Donnamarie Recco, Mircea Monroe, PJ Byrne complement the heart and soul of the story. A few industry cameos appear to spice up the backgrounds, and of course Ron Jeremy is, well he is Ron Jeremy, and always fun to see on screen (fully clothed not to worry). Good technical credits in photography and sound, however there are moments when the picture's low budget are obvious. But overall, a fun ride worth taking.
I really enjoyed this hard to classify film. I have only seen this type of humor associated to male-led comedies, and I think it is quite bold to approach it from a female perspective -- and without apologizing for it. I'm giving it ten stars for how ballsy it is and for doing something so different from what is out there. I also enjoyed that they were able to portray the world of adult entertainment neither condoning it nor falling into preachy sanctimoniousness or prejudiced clichés. In that regard, it reminded me of Boogie Nights; it pokes fun at its subjects, but never in a mean-spirited way and indeed, in Bliss, more often than not the joke is on the outsider. Delivering hard laughs and, at the same time, portraying compelling characters that will make us care is a hard balancing act, but I think Bliss succeeds at both things. Its in-your-face humor has nothing to envy to the crassest Farrelly brothers' flicks, but at the same time it shows a true indie sensibility in the leading character's journey to grow comfortable with her own sexuality. I really hope this film gets the exposure it deserves.
I loved this film!!! The acting and directing were wonderful, especially for an independent film. The story has a heart,good values and lots of fun to watch!!! LeeLee Sobieski was terrific, she truly made me root for her! Matt Davis, Donna Marie Recco and Jamie Kennedy are true professionals- very good acting by all!!! It must have been difficult to make a film about the porn industry, while keeping it semi-clean, and still making it funny, yet showing the deep emotions of the characters. This film succeeded in achieving this goal.This film made me see the porn actors from a different perspective. Hope that this director makes more films. This is much better than many of the huge budget films out there now!!!
After seeing "Amy's O," I vowed to watch everything by this filmmaker I could get my hands on. I was not disappointed by "Finding Bliss" except that Julie Davis, herself was not in it. The cast was very strong anyway, and things that usually disappoint me in comedies never did in this one. It's smart without being self-conscious; it's sexy without losing subtlety and it's romantic but never sappy. It doesn't hit you on the head with a message but it has one, which deepens it beyond many romantic comedies. Just when I thought I was sure I knew what would happen next, I was surprised and delighted to be wrong. I will watch it again because I was laughing too hard to get all the gems. One of the most tasteful films I've seen in a long time.
I hope people see this film. It's a very smart take on the porn industry from a girl's point of view. The girl is played by Leelee Sobieski who hasn't done much lately, so it was great to see her in such a different role. Denise Richards plays against type as the good girl and pulled it off, much to my surprise. what I really liked about this film was that it didn't play into all the stereotypes of most romantic comedies. Everything was a little different than expected and the porn star characters were completely lovable and real. Jamie Kennedy brought a lot of depth to his dumb as bricks porn stud character and the actress who played Sindi truly broke my heart at the end. My only criticism would be the sets which weren't as imaginative and interesting as the rest of the film.
My girlfriend and I have different tastes in movies. We usually can't
decide at the theatres.
However we found ourselves constantly laughing with Finding Bliss. It had an excellent combination of humour and romance with an adult entertainment twist.
The acting was great and it was good to see familiar faces. I've always liked Denise Richards and she was very good in this movie. Leelee Sobieski was also entertaining.
I highly recommend this movie! I'm sure you'll enjoy it as much as we did.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Leelee Sobieski's face projects a strange beauty. It's practically a
flat plane with two tiny lips above the chin. Her nose isn't prominent
but it seems very long. It goes on forever, an Afghanistan war of a
nose. Her eyes are set too close together but they're magnetic. They
look capable of seeing through things, like an X-ray device. She had an
admirable figure too in "Eyes Wide Shut." But this material is
autobiographical and, though cute, will probably find a more
appreciative audience among women than among men. I'm not being sexist
about this. Psychological studies have been done that show a difference
between the things that men and women find funny, and this movie, like
"Sex And The City," ought to appeal to females.
The story itself, no doubt covered elsewhere, has Sobieski as a recent graduate of film school who can only find work as an editor for what the handsome young producer calls "adult entertainment." She has to learn what a "gaper" is. (It's pretty disgusting, if you ask me.) And it's amusing when she's advised to learn the tricks of the trade and snaps back, "Like what? How to get somebody's ass print off your face?" There aren't really enough of those jabs and many of the funny situations depend on our ability to identify with a nice innocent Jewish girl in an absurdly filthy business full of cheerful cynics.
All is not lost however. Sobieski is clever enough to borrow the one-room studio's equipment to shoot her own film, though she must hock her grandmother's engagement ring to raise the money to buy the raw stock.
And let's not forget that handsome young producer. Aesthetically, he may currently be a ditch digger but he has a golden award for an art film he recently produced. That boy has talent, even if it doesn't run along medical lines. Is that the scent of orange blossoms in the air?
Great cast, especially the unknown actors. Can't wait to see this movie again. There were a lot of really dirty jokes, but the movie was also sweet and romantic which made it a very unique film. I usually find most romantic comedies to be the same, but this was unlike anything I've ever seen. The cast is really special. Leelee Sobieski plays the lead, and is charming and accessible, but what really works is that she is supported by some hilarious actors like Kristen Johnston and Jamie Kennedy. But my favorite was PJ Byrne who plays the tech guy Gary. He should have his own sitcom. Also great job by Matt Davis, a young Robert redford type, handsome, but very real. Overall, a really special little film.
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