Sunday, August 22, 2010

One A Week Reviews #38: Finding Bliss

Practically a sitcom about the "wonderful world of Porno", this feature reviewed for dvdsnapshot does have it's charms...


Aspiring filmmaker Jody Balaban (Leelee Sobieski) takes a job at an adult entertainment studio, planning to use the company's lush facilities to secretly film her own movie after hours. When Jody's ruse is discovered, she's forced to collaborate with infamous adult entertainment director, Jeff Drake (Matt Davis) – an initially fractious relationship that simmers into an unexpected romance.

Apple-cheeked and overly optimistic film student Jody Balaban takes a student award, one encounter with Garry Marshall, and a lot of hope and promptly moves to Los Angeles to fall on her face trying to break into the movies. Desperately taking an editing gig with an adult entertainment production company; she starts plotting, sassy scamp that she is, to make her own film with the production house's facilities after hours while imagining conversations in her head with Bliss, the porn star she can project her neuroses onto. She winds up using the cast and crew to make her own movie, “Mickey and Judy putting on a show” style, while working on editing the porn film.

Personally, I think this all just sounds rather exhausting, but the film keeps things fairly light and sunny. You'd think porn casts were the cutest group of wacky co-workers ever to spring from a sit-com style reimagining of Boogie Nights. (This was originally developed as a Showtime series, and that “Group of wacky TV characters” feel definitely still lingers.) Pretty much everyone's seen pornography, rather they admit it or not, and it's certainly nicer to picture the cast and crew as a sweetly dysfunctional family than whatever the reality might be. Jody goes on to spar romantically with Jeff Drake, the director of the dirty movie. Matt Davis and Leelee Sobieski have friendly chemistry but not romantic, however that's not that big a deal for this frothy comedy. Also, she starts out as something of a prude but we all know she'll loosen up considering the circumstances. If you don't think she won't learn, grow, and fall in love, then you've never seen a romantic comedy before.

Sobieski has grown to be both a sober and amusing lead, while Jamie Kennedy (all of him, ahem), Caroline Aaron, Denise Richards, Ron Jeremy and Kristin Johnston bring their woozy, addled comedy stylings to keep the varied characters amusing and easy to relate to. I find it hard to believe these two groups, the porn stars and the straight world, would have so much trouble with the so-called “awkward gulf” between them. Discovering common ground is part of the journey.
Finding Bliss keeps the comedy light – with silly sex toy and porn industry humor. This is comedy with adult content, but it's wholesome at heart, even if there's a big scoop of cheese at the end when there really should be whipped cream.

Finding Bliss is presented full-screen with both French and English 2.0 stereo and 5.1 Dolby Surround sound. Included are Deleted and alternate scenes, storyboards, and a musical “shake it up” montage and trailers for Adventures of Power, I Do & I Don't, and Play the Game.

A wholesome sex comedy set in the porn industry (and we should all have such nice coworkers); Finding Bliss is cute enough you could watch it on a date. I wouldn't recommend showing it to the kids, though.


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