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Studio: VCA » Review by Staff Review » Review Date: 1/3/03

XCritic's Advice: Skip It

The Movie
When you watch porn as a couple, there are a few requirements: hot girls, guys that aren't so nasty that you simply must turn your head, and enough of a story so the sex feels like a fantasy. The story should make the love-making fun, adventurous, sexy, and naughty. Unfortunately, Bliss falls short on almost all of these categories.

For this particular Antonio Passolini production, you can blame the story. I know, I know. It's porn, who cares about the story? Well, my friend, this is one that makes the film, even most of the sex scenes, very unappealing. When making Bliss, Passolini set out to make a dark, realistic film, not a fantasy. As he says in the commentary, rain-coaters weren't the target audience. Apparently, couples weren't either.

This dark "realism" starts in the first scene. The first line, actually. The titles fade into Julie Ashton unzipping the pants of Tony Tedeschi. "Make it quick," she says, voicing her discontent with the way their characters had come together. Although this scene features some of Ashton's expert mouth skills and amazing acrobatics (she takes it from behind on all fours while holding herself up on the lips of a cast-iron tub), the general tone ruins the sexiness.

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One of the final scenes is even harder to watch for those looking for "fun" sex. Gina Ryder plays a hardened, real-life hooker not at all interested in her John for the night (Tedeschi). She looks less-than-enthused as she sucks him, and looks even less happy as they have sex in a few different positions. This is too bad because Ryder looks like she'd be fun to watch, fake breasts and all.

Most of the scenes in this film are portrayed in similar fashions. Sure, the sex can be fun to watch, but it would've been much better if the characters looked like they were enjoying themselves. So yes, even for those who plan to fast forward through the dialog, the story has a negative impact.

With that being said, there's probably something for everyone in this one. There's oral, anal, minor bondage, lesbian fun—you name it, Bliss has it. And let's face it, some of the ladies in this one (like Ashton) aren't bad to look at, so watching them have sex is probably worth a viewing no matter what the characters are saying.

This DVD sports a very nice, full-frame picture that is very clear with deep shadows. The audio is above par, but don't expect your woofer to rattle the windows even during the orgasms. Aside from the feature, the DVD offers two well done commentaries (one detail oriented concerning the camera angles, lighting, sex positions, etc., and one with more of a relaxed, out-take kind of feel) with Passolini, Ashton, and Tyler.

Also on board is a decent behind-the-scenes featurette, photo gallery, star biographies, and Internet links, but none of these are likely to keep your attention for too long.

He Said…
…skip it. The scenes with attractive ladies and sexy romps are outweighed by the ones with negativity or, dare I say it, ugly guys. Couples can most assuredly find something more fun and sexy elsewhere. And those wanting just some good, ol' fashioned sex, well, that can be found elsewhere too. I would like to point out, however, that porn lovers might be interested in this one because of the things I didn't like. Sure, the characters and situtions don't work for me, but there is a script with ideas not usually expressed in adult entertainment. If you're serious about your porn, this might be worth a rental.

She Said…
…skip it. Good sex scenes are ruined by "characters" who are either hurried, mad at one another or just plain bored. Although production of the DVD itself deserves something in the B+ range, the fantasy aspect is missing altogether. And Bliss's story line – a handful of nympho couples trying to sneak in a quickie with their neighbor during the weekend barbecue – is as mundane as the suburbs where the flick was filmed.

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