As predictable as what happens when a scantily clad woman opens a door to an ice cream man who’s out of cones

Finding Bliss

on August 31, 2010 by Matthew Nestel
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With an NYU degree and Best Film honors at graduation, Jody Balaban (Leelee Sobieski) is well on her way to becoming a successful filmmaker. She arrives in Tinsel Town hoping director Gary Marshall will take a meeting. He won't. The down and out graduate scrapes the ground level and finds a ‘golden shower' of promise-editing X-rated fare for the other Hollywood. It's in Jody's cliff dive that Finding Bliss gets rolling. A marginal lot will sit through the hanky panky parodied on screen, but sadly this effort is not adroit enough to keep us caring, and so we're left unsatisfied.

Our sexually repressed protagonist quickly learns the lingo at her new job editing at Grind Productions, famous for titles like Charlie's Anals and Glad-He-Ate-Her. Here, DP doesn't mean "Director of Photography," it means "Double Penetration." ATM is not a cash machine but "Ass To Mouth." At Grind, Jody takes to the tough Executive Producer, Irene Fox (Kristen Johnston), and fancies hunk maestro Jeff Drake (Matt Davis).

The new hire recaps the ins and outs of her short order sexual history. Labeled a teen slut because she kissed too many geeks during Spin the Bottle, Jody's soon deflowered by a prick. Sex has carried this gross pretense for her ever since.

Jody tries to carry this picture. She's not given much help with syrupy dialogue and so-so support. Laura (Denise Richards) is awkward in her dual roles as prude and sexual gladiator. Richard "Dick" Harder (Jamie Kennedy) steals the show famously with his clueless innocence and Freudian slips ("One day you'll have to learn to thrust me.").

The holdup is that Jody, who now must write and edit a porn, is a sexual novice and too inept at anything that involves getting past second base. How is she supposed to get audiences hot with her kosher sex manual anecdotes? It's blow jobs not blow kisses. Sleaze director Jeff Drake sends her a basket of dildos and lube-which Jody quickly puts to use. Then the two begin an offset romance. Meantime, she broadsides him by shooting her own film late-nights and poaching his porn cast.

Ideas in the film get mashed together in tailspin fashion. Even with Jaime Kennedy's raunchy deadpan antics saving many scenes, filmmaker Julie Davis deep-fries this sucker to death. If the story's based on half-truths (Davis once edited hardcore films down to Playboy softcore) they don't translate into clever storytelling. Jody gets the job so she can make her film on the side and then, during daylight, she pieces together her muse between the company's climaxes. This jumping jacks routine isn't dangerous; in fact dangerous would be a boon to this film's general mildness. Aside from a script read-around there's hardly any banter between porn actors. Redemption could have come if the story had more kick.

Distributor: Phase 4 Films
Cast: Leelee Sobieski, Matthew Davis, Denise Richards, Jamie Kennedy, Kristen Johnston, Mircea Monroe and P.J. Byrne
Director/Screenwriter: Julie Davis
Producers: Jeff Rice, David Ornston and Daniel Toll
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Rating: R for strong sexual content including graphic dialogue and nudity, and for language
Running time: 96 min.
Release date: June 4, 2010

 

 

Tags: Daniel Toll, David Ornston, Jeff Rice, Julie Davis, P.J. Byrne, Mircea Monroe, Kristen Johnston, Jamie Kennedy, Denise Richards, Matthew Davis, Leelee Sobieski
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