BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELL
AUGUST 10, 2010
Without Leelee Sobieski’s beauty, “Finding Bliss” would be a no-go. But can a film truly just rely on someone’s beauty? Obviously, a film can be rated on how well the story is portrayed, the acting, the set design, the directing, the music, the special effects, etc. But I feel as if a film completely relies on an actresses’ beauty, it may as well be pornography. And, believe it or not, “Finding Bliss” just happens to be about the world of adult entertainment.
Sobieski plays Jody Balaban, a film graduate with an impressive student film. The sad reality: none of the above guarantees a fancy Hollywood career (I can somewhat attest to this, having an unused film degree but then again I have not tried my hand in Hollywood… yet). Balaban is forced to direct traffic and answer every last advertisement in the newspaper to find her first big break. When she finally does find that break, it is editing for one of the leading adult entertainment directors in the business, Jeff Drake (Matthew Davis).
Against her better judgment, Jody takes the job, only to secretly make her own film on the sly. In the process, she meets adult entertainers “Dick” Harder (Jamie Kennedy), Sin-di (Mircea Monroe), and the star, Bliss, whose true identity will shock you. Jody’s secret moonlighting film is eventually discovered but with her ever-growing romance with director Drake, she is able to finish her film, with leading lady Laura (Denise Richards).
“Finding Bliss” has sincere moments and comes off as a real film (compared to certain independent films that fall into incoherency). The story is original enough to keep you watching, and with lack of nudity, the film does not become an adult film unlike films like “Zack & Miri,” which send viewers coiling in their seats, hiding the rosy blush forming on their faces. The most appreciated difference in this film is that the women entertainers (Bliss and Sindi) do not play the normal, brain dead bimbos. Instead, they are educated and have a sincerity that allows them to appear human, unlike the normal standard where it appears the women huffed a little too much paint as a child leading them to a life of pornography. These entertainers are in the business for specific reasons and thus, drives their characters.
Consider “Finding Bliss” a tasteful adult film, which is what the characters are striving to make in the film. Unlike most films portraying adult entertainment, “Finding Bliss” has a heart and opens the world of filmmaking up for discussions. Though it appears that many of the parties, like Sobieski and Richards, have fallen far, the truth is, there are worse places to be in this industry… like porn.
December 1, 2009
(for strong sexual content including graphic dialogue and nudity, and for language)
Peter N. Green
David E. Ornston