Dir. John Cameron Mitchell
(2006, Not Rated, 97 min)
★ ★

Shortbus is like Rent with less AIDS and more complaining. Also less singing. It tracks the interconnected lives of young, modern New York City bohemians as they contend with emotional problems and complicated love lives — self-complicated it seems, more often than not. Written and directed by John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig and the Angry Inch), it’s famous for its depictions of graphic, penetrative sex, but while it might at first seem to be about liberation, it’s really about hangups, shifting quickly from campy romp to pretentious-depressive gloom. Mitchell seems to have something very important to say about love and sex, but it gets lost in a morass of existential angst.

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