Synopsis: Numerous New York City dwellers come to the exclusive club Shortbus to work out problems in their sexual relationships. Rob and Sophia are a happily married couple, except for the fact that she has never experienced sexual climax. This irony follows her to work because she is a couples counselor who frequently has to deal with the sexual issues other couples have. Two of her patients are Jamie and James, a gay couple who have been monogamous for five years and counting. James wants to bring other men in to the relationship, and his own history with depression may hint at an ulterior motive. Ceth (pronounced Seth) may be the perfect addition to their family, but Caleb, a voyeur from across the street, may have his own ideas about that. Sophia visits Severin, a dominatrix with secrets of her own to reveal.
Genre: Drama, Romance
Production: ThinkFilm
  7 wins & 6 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
101 min

Are you a top or a bottom?

I beg your pardon?

I mean in real life.

This is real life.

Let me put it this way:

Do you think we should get out of Iraq?

Is your daddy paying for this?


You're taking a picture of yourself at Ground Zero --

do you smile?

Get on the f***ing bed!

If you could have any superpower,

what would it be?

The power to make you interesting.

Do you think you'll ever have kids?

You only have an hour.

It's my money.

Well, you f***ing trust fund piece of fetish sh*t!

I'm sorry!

I'm sorry what?

I'm sorry, Mistress Severin.

But I'm serious.

What are your thoughts on procreation?

I want to do it by myself,

in the dark.

Like a worm.

Can you describe your last orgasm?

It was great.

It was like time had stopped

and I was completely alone.

Let's go, partner.

I'm gonna miss my f***ing train.

Oh, God, oh.

Oh, easy, easy.

Were you sad afterwards?



Cause time hadn't stopped.

And I wasn't alone.

Hey hon, I'm home!


You doing yoga?


Sorry, I would have been here sooner.

Somebody threw themselves in front of the L train.


- Hey.

God, you're so sweaty.

I love it.


- I just jerked off, actually.

You did?

Did you think of me?

I'll go put on some clothes.

This is recording!


When are you going to let me see

what you're working on?


Thank you.

Thank you...


That was--

oh God, that was incredible.


Look, I do feel sorry for people who don't have what we have.

Like Brad and Cheryl.

Brad and Cheryl?

Yeah, the couple I've been working with.

Can you keep a secret?

Of course I can keep a secret.

Yesterday Cheryl told me

she's been faking her orgasms.

She won't tell Brad because

she's afraid he'll break up with her.

So I finally told her what I think she should do.

What should she do?

She should keep faking.

It's a completely legitimate strategy to buy time.


Cause the thing is, if she tells Brad,

he's gonna think it's all his fault.

You know?

And the thing is, an orgasm

isn't something Brad can give her.

She has to claim it for herself.

What do you think?

What do you mean with,

what do I think?


Jamie and Jamie.

Actually, I just started to call myself James again.

I'm sorry. I keep forgetting.

- It's all right.

Jamie and James.

Tell me about yourselves.

Well, I'm Jamie Mitchell.

I was a child actor. I was on a

TV show called "One of the family".

Where the rich black couple

adopted the poor white trash kid,

and they didn't have the heart

to tell him he's not black?

"I'm an albino!"

I'm Canadian.

Well, Jamie and I met

when I was doing research

for "Take him from the streets".

I paid a street hustler.

And -- James was -- well, he was --

escorting at the time.

James, what do you do now?

Well, I don't hustle any more.

Um, I guess I'm a...

He's a lifeguard.

Yeah, at a...

a gym jacuzzi.

Can you tell me why you're here?

Recently we started about opening up our relationship, you know.


I was a little surprised when Jamie mentioned that he wanted to do this,

and then I thought, well, we've been together five years,

and -- I mean, let's face it,

monogamy's for straight people.

But we thought we should get an impartial opinion from a sex therapist.

Dr Lin?

Actually I prefer the term "couples counselor".

Although I have a great deal of experience in sex therapy.

Jamie, I'm wondering --

can you do me a big favor?


Leave us alone.



All right.

Why are you here?

Well, something did happen at work last week.

Um, would you mind if I taped myself talking about this?

See, I'm making this little film, and

I want to tape myself telling this story.

Just me.

Sure, OK.

So I was at the gym last week...

Oh, Jesus!

There's something in there!

Something's on the bottom there!

Can you help me?

What was that?

It must have been a brownout.

Are you OK?

Yeah, yeah.

Everything's fine.

You know, we're making some progress.

I got to hear from James,

and now I'd love to hear from you, Jamie.

Tell me what you need in your life right now.

Well, I need Jamie.

Besides James.

We love each other so much.

I just...

I don't want to lose him.

And I think about him and other guys,

and then I think about me and other guys,

and I think, maybe there's an opportunity here.

I mean, there's a lot of good and cute people in the world who don't have any love in their lives,

and I think we could help them.

I mean, I love cute people.

Tell me what you need, in one sentence.

I love everybody.

That's not a need.

I need to love everybody.

Wait! Did you just hear me?

"I need to love everybody"?

How can I love everybody?

I can't even meet everybody!

Wow! You're good!

Thank you!

- Jamie...

Thank you!

I'm having a breakthrough!

Jamie, that's actually called a "false epiphany".

Come on, give me a break!

Did you give him a breakthrough?

You don't just dole out the breakthroughs.

Well, you can!

Don't you give yourself a breakthrough?

I don't need a breakthrough.

You're not gonna give me the breakthrough?

I do not need a breakthrough.

We all need breakthroughs.

Well shut up and sit down!

You shut up! And I...

Sit down!

Oh my God. I...

I am so sorry.

I'm not gonna charge you for this session.

It's a...

I'm preorgasmic.

Does that mean you're about to have one?


I've never had one.

Get the hell out of here.

Everybody hates you.

Do you know who I am?

Yes, I know who you are.

Dr Donuts.

Eat my twat, Dr Donuts!

F*** you!

I hate carbs!

What are you looking at?

Nothing. Um--

Jamie and, um, James told me to come here.

What's your name?


Oh, Sophia! I'm Justin Bond.

I'm the mistress of Shortbus.

Come on.

Do you know what a shortbus is?


You've heard of the Big Yellow School Bus?

Well, this is the short one.

It's a salon for the gifted and challenged.


That's Alice. She's got a c*nt like a wizard's sleeve.

This place has really taken off in the last few years,

since all these young people started flocking to the city.

Why would they come to New York?

It's so expensive to live here.

It's the only thing real that's ever happened to them.

Now in here is our performance room.

But tonight we're having a film festival.

They're boring as hell, but I've found the more boring they are,

the more intelligent people think they are. But watch.

"I'm an albino!"

Oh, there's the Jamies.

Hey. Mmm. Good to see you.

Hi James.

- Hey.

I'm so glad you came.

I said to switch the films. We're gonna do

a three-hour Gertrude Stein documentary.

That sounds like a real weenie shrinker.

Come on, let's go get laid.

You're gonna be all right?


What's the matter?


Are you sure you wanna try this tonight?

No, that's too late.

It'll be good for us.

Are you OK with it?


If you find somebody and I don't,

you know, that's totally cool.

But if I find somebody and you don't,

that's a dealbreaker for me. I can't do that.

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John Cameron Mitchell

John Cameron Mitchell (born April 21, 1963) is an American actor, writer, and director, best known for originating the title role in the musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and reprising it in the 2001 film adaptation directed by him, as well as for directing the films Shortbus (2006) and Rabbit Hole (2010). more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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