LATE NIGHT LAVENDER

LATE NIGHT LAVENDER

Friday, June 4, 2010

FINDING BLISS: "A Girl Walks Into a Porn Studio..."

Pic 2: Matthew  Davis ("Jeff Drake") and Leelee Sobieksi ("Jody")
Pic 3: Jaime Kennedy ("Dick Harder")
Pic 4: Kristen Johnston ("Irene Fox") and Ron Jeremy (as himself)
Pic 5: Three of the loveable porn stars in "Finding Bliss"

FINDING BLISS:
"A Girl Walks Into a Porn Studio..."


     In Julie Davis' "Finding Bliss", the uniquely beautiful, 25-year old actress Leelee Sobieski (Her face looks like a medieval portrait of a European maiden come to life.) plays Jody Balaban, an aspiring 25-year old writer of screenplays.  She has an amazing script: a romantic comedy which, to paraphrase one of her friends, "no one has read".   After spending a year in Hollywood,
she winds up not directing movies, but directing traffic instead.  Innocently, Jody accepts a job as an editor at Grind Productions, not realizing that it's an adult film company (Never say "porn", as the big boss Irene Fox, brilliantly played
by gravel-voiced Kristen Johnston, tells her).  Hmm, Jodi ponders.  Maybe she can use the Grind studio to secretly create her own film at night!

     "Finding Bliss" then enters a version of the adult film industry that's about as real as the porn stars' names ("Jake B..Bigg"), cameo at the end by real-life triple X veteran Ron Jeremy notwithstanding.  The adults-only setting does give us the chance to meet some of the colorful characters: among them a starlet with breasts the size of cannonballs (Stormy Daniels); Sindi (Mircea Monroe), a Jessica Simpson lookalike with amazingly wide "f*** me" eyes; and our stud Richard (AKA "Dick Harder", played by Jaime Kennedy), who obviously doesn't, shall we say, have much upstairs.   For a while, we get the
impression that the "Finding Bliss" is torn between two movies: a romantic comedy geared toward a female audience; and (2) a titillating but dumbed-down look inside the adult film industry.   As a movie set in the porn biz, we're treated to a seemingly endless stream of dirty puns (It's not "Gladiator", it's "Glad He Ate Her".) and Jody's naive education on porn lingo: "DP" does not only mean "Director of Photography". In porntalk, it means something else.  Find out for yourself!   Jody has ambivalent feelings about the porn biz: She's leery but fascinated, especially by Grind's reigning porn queen "Bliss".  Intentionally or not, Jody's ambivalence about her job is actually a mirror of our country's feelings about the adult film industry.   Our protagonist's  personal life and work life collide with the entrance of the handsomely hirsute Jeff Drake (Matthew Davis), a successful porn director who has eyes for his new employee right away.  Can Jody get romantically involved with this man in the new world of dirty movies they both now live in?  Talk about "porn between two lovers (feeling like a fool...)"  Along the way in "Finding Bliss", there are some surprises and plot twists.  Some are clever.  Others are a bit far-fetched, albeit charmingly so.

      "FInding Bliss" is essentially an R-rated Lifetime Television for Women movie, right on down to the soundtrack (Note the music that plays as Matthew Davis' Jeff makes his entrance...).  Even at its most explicit, the sexy aspects seem more funny and cute than salacious.   In the hands of another director, it could have turned into a serious misfire: a well-intentioned female-centric movie dressed in an X-rated chicken suit.  But thanks to the young hot cast of characters, the script, and some nice directorial touches, the various faces of the movie integrate quite well.   Put another way, "Finding Bliss" wins us over. Director Julie Davis makes the movie work as a romantic comedy while showing as much respect for the adult film industry as she can get away with.  Specifically, the audience realizes that these hard-working and hard-playing porn actors are bona fide human beings (who also aren't as dim as we want to believe).  Most likely intentionally, the director only VERY briefly skirts over the darker aspects of the jizz biz.  The happy ending-- yes, there is one-- is both touching and believeable.  The most credit for the appeal of "Finding Bliss" goes to not only director Julie Davis, but also lead actress Leelee Sobieski.  Although we may not buy that Jody is so naive and unblemished at the beginning of the film, it's a testament to Sobieski's acting ability that she makes her character believable afterward.   Jaime Kennedy as Dick Harder not only shows his butt in an extended shot, but also boldly goes full frontal.  For some lovers of celebrity skin, that alone may be "finding bliss"!

     "Finding Bliss" is now playing.  Visit www.FindingBlissthemovie.com for locations and much more! 

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