Finding Bliss (2009) Poster

(2009)

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5/10
Hollywood soft-core missing ingenuity, heart and real humour
napierslogs26 August 2010
"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.
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8/10
Unpretentious fun
Post Orion2 June 2010
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.
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8/10
Entertaining and Funny; At times, Shocking and Touching
ardentayu26 January 2009
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.
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8/10
Young female writer meets the porn industry
carolgmama4415 February 2010
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!!!
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10/10
Laughs with a heart
MyTwoCensToo20 February 2009
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.
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10/10
Intelligently funny with depth and surprises
songperson3 February 2010
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.
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9/10
Leelee Sobieski's "Pretty Woman"
jayraskin115 June 2012
This film is a warm, witty comedy that involves a clash of two cultures, just as "Pretty Woman" was. In "Pretty Woman" it was streetwalker and super-rich culture that clashed. In this it is Personal/artschool filmmaking and porno ("That's passe, call it adult"] filmmaking. The films also match in having beautiful, bright, warm, young blonde actresses in the lead. There is also the Gary Marshall connection. Gary Marshall is the narrator/director of "Pretty Woman" and he is in the movie "Finding Bliss" and the catalyst in a way for everything that happens.

Unfortunately, while Pretty Woman made zillions of dollars, "Finding Bliss" only made two dollars. This is unfortunate, because I think anybody who like "Pretty Woman" would enjoy "Finding Bliss" While the film is sometimes formulaic in the romantic comedy mode, there are some strikingly original scenes. The scenes of Sobieski getting turned on by the pornography that she's editing is genuinely erotic and striking. It dances softly around the lines separating mass market and porn films.

I watched Julie Davis' "Amy's O" and also found it a charming comedy dealing with sex. She is especially brilliant at directing women. Besides a great performance from Sobrieski (which one always expects), Kristen Johnson and Denise Richards also give wonderfully comic and sweet performances.

One may criticize the film for having a naive or romantic notion of pornographic/adult film-making. In a sense, rather than being realistic, this film could be considered more of 1950's movie fantasy in which virginal Doris Day gets turned on, rips off her pajamas, beds Rock Hudson, yet still manages to get married and live happily ever after.

Does every film about the pornography movie industry need to be a moral lesson on the terrible abuse that often goes on in that industry. Perhaps from a moralist point of view it does.

However, we should consider this film does give a utopian vision of a gentler, more sophisticated porn industry that cares about its performers and especially women. Before condemning it, please consider that "Pretty Woman" also did not show the uglier side of prostitution. If you have protests about the liberal morality of "Finding Bliss," you should have the same protests with "Pretty Woman."
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9/10
A movie that both myself and my girlfriend enjoyed
tsingh-756-8665593 June 2010
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.
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9/10
A bold, heart-felt comedy with wonderful performances
highlandlover696 February 2010
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.
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10/10
Great Cast and Smart Script
holdendmandell21 February 2009
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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2/10
Uninspired and Unoriginal
zenlemming_sf8 February 2010
This was a truly mediocre film, one tired cliché after another. I honestly didn't expect much and would never have bothered to leave a review, but the previous reviews were to preposterous to have been genuine.

Wooden acting, terrible dialogue, utterly predictable plot and possibly the worst sound track I have ever heard; there is really no reason to see this film. I am actually a fan of Lee Lee Sobieski and keep hoping she gets a break into bigger roles, but this film was a serious bump in the road.

Absolutely terrible.
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5/10
Take What You Can Get.
rmax30482323 June 2011
Warning: 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?
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10/10
Young Film Editor Dreams of Making It Big in Hollywood
d_dave21 February 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I saw Finding Bliss at this year's Slamdance Festival. I found it to be one of the most engaging, heart-warming, and funny romantic comedies of the year. It always amazes me how some larger budget films get all of the hype and promotion when they have no real "heart" and a thin plot line, and how small budget movies such as this, with a great story and plot line are passed over. I found myself drawn into the characters, the story, and having real concern for them. The movie has a lot of heart.

The story is about a girl who dreams since childhood of becoming a film maker, seeks her dream in Hollywood, only to be rebuffed by the usual obstacles, until she unknowingly responds to an ad for her editing skills and finds she is being interviewed by a porn studio. Desperately, and reluctantly, she stays with it, and discovers she can furtively sneak into their sound stage and use their equipment in the wee hours of the night...until she is caught by the handsome stud studio owner. A devil's bargain is struck, with possible predictable consequences, but the laughs from the hapless cast members, and the ups and downs of her relationships with them make for a wonderful story, well told, with a meaningful ending.

Hopefully, this film will see a broader release and get the audience it deserves.
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4/10
I wanted to like it...
sfviewer1239 June 2010
but just couldn't. Has a few zingy one-liners that keep it from being a complete dud, and a couple characters/actors that do well (the tech guy, the female head of the studio and "Jeff Drake", imo) but otherwise a yawner. Better movies in this genre (if it can be called that) are Zack and Miri Make a Porno and Orgazmo. (Also not really any nudity to speak of, so don't bother if you're thinking it's a cheap way to get some thrills).

Also has *nothing* meaningful to do with a woman getting hired to make pr0n from a female perspective or a (male) director trying to make classy pr0n (at least to me). The former never gets beyond "women want an emotional connection during sex" while the latter consists of "maybe we won't just concentrate on closeups of genitals". In a way it's really about the psychoemotional hangups of the main character vis-a-vis sex, but these are never really explored beyond her parents are uptight, she's afraid she's not skilled enough at sex, she likes to tease guys, etc. Caveat emptor :-)
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10/10
Naughty and Nice
wogese183 June 2010
This film is unlike any other. It's one of those movies you either love or hate, and that depends on your own personal sensibilities about sex, romance, and mostly, porn. First off, because the film is from a young woman's point of view and takes place in the porn industry it opens itself up for criticism. But truthfully, it's unlike anything out there. It takes an honest look at a profession that most consider disgusting and immoral, and although the main character herself is disdainful of porn, she comes to realize that people are the same everywhere, in any job, and for that alone, it's a very politically incorrect film. The movie doesn't condescend or vilify the porn stars, on the contrary, it finds the humanity in them. When Jody ends up getting turned on by the porn she is editing, the film veers off into territory that is sexy, funny, and even a little sad. Watching a sexually inexperienced and insecure woman getting turned on by pornography is quite realistic, and probably something most people are afraid to see, and god knows it's probably a nightmare for most feminists, but for me, I found this movie fresh, insightful, and completely courageous.
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5/10
Awkward mix of romantic drama and sex comedy
princebansal19827 June 2011
Finding Bliss is promoted almost like a sex comedy, but is not a sex comedy. Instead it is an awkward mix of romantic drama and sex comedy. While trying to do two things, this movie ends up a mess. I don't think it will appeal to wither the male or female demographic. I know that it is a good movie can be equally enjoyed by both sexes, but this tries to combine the genres which have a set audience in mind.

It is a B grade movie. Everything from the acting to the script is amateur. Even Leelee Sobieski has done not done a good job. It feels as if that the whole film was made in a hurry. It has production values of straight to DVD sex comedies. The plot and the characters are not believable either. Everything is just to contrived.

By the way it is not a sex comedy, so if you are expecting that I recommend you watch something else. I have still given it an average rating though, because though it is a cheap B movie, It knows that it is a cheap B movie and doesn't pretends otherwise. There is a small payoff for those who like romantic movies, but I don't think it is worth it to watch the whole thing.
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10/10
Surprising, raunchy fun, and awesome twisted sense of humor.
bhilgefort11 April 2011
This was a surprising eye opener for being an independent film yet it was one of the funniest that I've seen in a long time. One of the best surprises of all was the return of a fantastic familiar face! The humor comes from the best place of all, the underbelly of adult entertainment, which has seen it's share of jokes. However, the sense of humor along with the well hidden, good nature behind a lot of the characters makes for a fantastic film with a great twist! Quite refreshing and leaves you with happy feelings. Not necessarily a "chick flick" or even a "tit flick" yet drew in attention without having to be nasty about it! I would say this film is very under-rated and VERY well rounded and would also say that this movie is certainly not for kids.
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10/10
A smart and hilarious movie which blends traditional romantic comedy with a fresh independent point of view
fleecie1 July 2010
I've never seen a film quite like 'Finding Bliss'. The first half of the film is a raunchy, over-the-top character piece about an idealistic college grad, Jody, who moves to Hollywood with the dream of making romantic comedies. She ends up getting hired to edit a porn film, and being broke and desperate, takes the job. But deep down, she's drawn to the honest, no holds barred sexuality that she is forced (therefore expunging her of her Jewish guilt) to watch day in day out. The second half of the film moves into romantic comedy territory when Jody falls for bad boy porn director Jeff Drake (played by Matt Davis, a delectable actor). Jeff isn't quite who he appears to be on the outside, nor is anyone else in this refreshingly unique and consistently authentic comedy. The porn stars aren't the typical trashy vacant types we so often see in films (even dim-witted Jamie Kennedy ends up having a loyal, loving heart), and good girl Jody isn't quite the good girl after all, but is a complicated woman, who makes choices that often contradict what she thinks she wants, and is really quite unlike any female heroine in recent memory. She wants to be loved and respected by a man, but also wants to be treated like a whore in the bedroom by that same man. In this film, that counts for not only romantic comedy, but real life. All in all, I consider this a high-brow indie masquerading as a low-brow comedy, which for the sake of pure entertainment value is the best of both worlds.
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A mild comedy love story that isn't the porn movie that it seems to be.
StefanMichael24 April 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I found this movie to be very good and dealt with the subject of Adult Entertainment in a way that did not over sexualize the movie or that it would cross the boundary of porn. While LeeLee Sobieski did a good job carrying this film, I personally had a little difficulty with her filling this role following and often reflecting back to the job that she did in Joan of Arc; And I can't myself seem to move beyond how different these two roles are from one another. Yet I recall her bit part in Eyes Wide Shut and seem to understand her versatility while she seeks to define and identify the type of actress that she wants to be remembered for, I truly hope that she and her fans choose not to define her by roles such as her two films Eyes Wide Shut and Finding Bliss which may stereotype her as a women of poor choices. although I must acknowledge that she may have taken the role in Eyes Wide Shut just to work with the Stanley Kubrick.

All the actors in this film were well fitted to their roles, Although I felt that the script and some of the dialog seemed to have holes that could have been filled better. And there were scenes that maybe could have been left out all together.. such as the basket of sex toys.

Overall I would recommend this film to others with the stern warning and promise that while it was breaching a subject that many may find undesirable and often using language that may be broad in its descriptions as a way to bring reality to the story, This movie was done with as much taste as it could be given and still point out some of the realities of the Adult Entertainment industry. and potential viewers should give it a chance, and I don't think many of its viewers will consider it to be a waste of time. In ending I would instruct the potential viewers not to fear it being an Ed Wood movie, but don't expect a Steven Spielberg movie either.
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7/10
THAT'S A LUCKY PICKLE
nogodnomasters5 July 2018
Warning: Spoilers
This is a romantic comedy that uses the pron industry as a background so guys will watch it. It is less erotic than what one would expect. There are only a few brief nude scenes and none with the major stars. The adult aspect is the crude porn language and simulated sex scenes.

Leelee Sobieski stars a Jody, a naive near-virginal woman with her own sexual hang-ups. She ends up editing adult videos for director Jeff Drake (Matt Davis) who wants to show adult movies in main stream art theaters. He utilizes Jody's perspective for editing and writing. He is also an alumni from the same film academy. Jody has her own script, which is perhaps too autobiographical, about a girl who wants to wait for sex. She uses the studio...and their actors to make the film. It seems every porno star wants to be a legitimatize actor and would do anything for the opportunity.

The movie was mildly funny. The humor was front loaded as naive Jody discovers the porno industry and learns its terminology. I may never use an ATM again. Kristen Johnston was a treat in her brash role as usual, Jamie Kennedy was a flop, and Mircea Monroe is always pleasing eye candy.

F-bomb, sex, nudity including full frontal male (Jamie Kennedy or body double).
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5/10
It's a movie about itself
hawktwo7 September 2013
Warning: Spoilers
This isn't a parody or a satire despite the movie plot being about the porn industry. It has all the elements of a typical porn movie: pun name, hesitant virgin, perfect bodies, gratuitous sex. It's not a romantic comedy. It addresses a couple of the porn industry myths head on: It's not porn, it's Adult Entertainment. Despite no education or experience, porn stars are genuine actors and deserve to cross over. It has about the level of emotional involvement of a Lifetime movie. Denise Richards proves she is a decent actress by not only fooling the actress-director but fooling the audience as well. The most interesting feature was the full frontal shot of Jamie Kennedy.
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8/10
Young woman in the adult film industry
Petey-103 May 2012
This is not your typical romantic comedy.A young Jewish woman named Jody Balaban ends up editing porn films.There she meets a charming porn director Jeff Drake.Finding Bliss (2009) is directed by Julie Davis.Leele Sobieski is just the right gal to play Jody.Matthew Davis does great work as Jeff.Denise Richards is terrific as Laura/Bliss.Jamie Kennedy is quite funny as Dick Harder.3rd Rock from the Sun's Kristen Johnston is great as Irene.Mircea Monroe is marvelous as Sindi.Caroline Aaron and Tim Bagley are very good as Jody's parents Debra and Alan.Garry Marshall is seen as himself, as is porn legend Ron Jeremy.This is a pretty sweet movie, despite the fact it takes place in the porn industry.It is about these two persons finding each other.At first these two share pretty few similarities.Jody is sexually more conservative while Jeff makes women do all kinds of acts in movies.The movie manages also to be quite funny.Like the dildo business.And it is pretty hot.
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3/10
Not so good ....
JonPowell18 June 2010
I have to say I too wanted to like this movie but unfortunately there was very little to root for other that Denise Richards and almost all of the supporting cast. The leads were too aware of themselves to make us care about them. Too much makeup and too much playing suave ... and, I wanted to like them both. There wasn't a second that I bought LeeLee Sobieski as a "film geek", she was too ... Sara Jessica Parker. The story was choppy and the dialogue was jumping all over the place. It strangely felt at times that the actors were saying someone else's line from another scene in someone else's movie. Denise Richards was pretty amazing, I bought -- hook, line and sinker -- everything about her performance. It's almost like I wish they could cut out her scenes and put them in a better movie.
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4/10
No humour and no heart.
Matt_Layden11 February 2011
I rented this movie for a few reasons, neither of which was because I thought it would be good. One, the cover of the DVD said "It's Boogie Nights for women", the second was that it was about a recent film school graduate who gets to work in the porn industry. Why? Well, not only to pay the bills, but so that she can use the studio at night and edit suites to make her own damn movie. Hmm...interesting.

Well, the film is really a direct to DVD quality film. You can immediately tell, if you couldn't from the cast: Leelee Sobieski, Denise Richards, Jamie Kennedy, Kristen Johnston and then some porn stars. It was written and directed by a woman, so the film is her basically a woman's view of the porn industry. Which is why I should have known that the big nude scene would involve a male and not a female. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Jamie Kennedy shows off his junk. I was not impressed.

Obviously working as an editor on a porn movie during the day and directing your own movie at night will take a toll on you, it does for our lead character. She falls for a guy who is directing the porn, why? Well, because every script needs some kind of romantic bit to it to attract the audience. Otherwise, these two people would never hook up. The comedy is tame and hardly funny, the drama has been done to death before (her parents find out and disapprove) and she says some things that her friends find out about and then...boom, she has no friends.

The real reason this film fails is because not only does it lack humour, but it lacks heart. The film feels cold and dead inside, not a good sign.
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