Another Wannabe Woody Allen Makes Finding Bliss Even More Impossible


Somebody, somewhere along the line, did writer/director Julie Davis (Amy’s Orgasm) the disservice of describing her as a female Woody Allen. Watching Finding Bliss, her latest self-amused exercise in personal (and, inevitably, sexual) exorcism, I imagined a sanitorium for all of the directors working under the same delusion. They could detox from cloying narration, lament being enabled by the actors (in this case, Leelee Sobieski, Kristen Johnson, and Denise Richards) drawn to their middling “urban sex comedy” material, and kill all of their stillborn darlings in a ritualistic bonfire. It is particularly painful to watch Sobieski—whose unnervingly symmetrical, Botticelli face and supernatural poise can’t help but hold the screen—put through the paces of Davis’s almost unbearably labored script. A film-school graduate struggling to make her first movie, Jody Balaban (Sobieski) finds herself cutting porn for an L.A. production company to pay the bills. Hung up on sex (she’s a virgin at 25; naturally, her first film is called On the Virge) and getting negged by her sexy asshole boss (Matthew Davis), Jody learns that porn stars are people, too, not all boys are bad, and—most unfortunately—working out pre-teen emotional traumas on film can be as gratifying for the audience as it is for the director.