JOHN CAMERON MITCHELL has discovered a secret and he wants to share it with you. It is this: sex is good for what ails you. Whatever your problem—loneliness, a failed marriage, crippling shyness coupled with voyeurism, repressed lesbianism, suicidal depression—all you have to do is go to a sex club, have a few heart-to-heart conversations, watch some drag performers, and get laid; and then life will be rosy. A brass band will play for you—literally—and you can sing along with everybody else.
Shortbus is a classic ensemble movie, a genre as old as talking pictures if not older. Seemingly random characters find their lives intersecting in unexpected ways. Drama turns to comedy and back, melodrama to farce. Then they all come together in the same locale. Think Grand Hotel, Dinner at Eight, or Ship of Fools. Or even It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World—except that these characters are searching not for a Big W but the Big O.
So we meet James and Jamie (Paul Dawson and PJ DeBoy), a gay couple looking for a third guy to spice up their relationship; Ceth (Jay Brannan), the cute model they zero in on; Sofia (Sook-Yin Lee), a married sex therapist whose husband Rob (Raphael Barker) has never given her an orgasm; et al. Through various circumstances they all end up at the sex club together, a place called Shortbus.