I AM A SEX ADDICT (2006)
Starring Caveh Zahedi, Rebecca Lord, Emily Morse, Amanda Henderson, Greg Watkins, Olia Natasha, Corrina Chan, Stephanie Carwin, Katarina Fabic, Alexandra Guerinaud, Bruna Raynaud and Anastasia Vega.
Screenplay by Caveh Zahedi.
Directed by Caveh Zahedi.
Distributed by IFC Films. 99 minutes. Not Rated.
I Am a Sex Addict is an odd mishmash of documentary and fantasy, comedy and melodrama, titillating sex and depressing sex (okay, there is not much titillation here), unashamed, dark confession and self-righteous indignation. It’s also somewhat charming and kind of creepy, all at the same time. It may be the first film in a new genre – call it a mockudrama.
Filmmaker Caveh Zahedi has opened up in extraordinary ways about his sexual compulsions and his long-standing need for prostitutes and how it has affected his romantic relationships, but he tells it in a po’faced comic manner which softens his points (intended) and sometimes trivializes them (not likely intended.) He seems to be working hard to get us to like him, and in some ways, he is a disarmingly pleasant host.
He is a nebbish and a total freak, a nice guy who is totally perverted, driven not only by an uncontrollable urge for stimulation but also a weirdly passive-aggressive need for total disclosure.
However, we also find that he is often self-centered, jealous and cruel – foisting his sexual perversions cruelly on the women in his life in the name of honesty. Believe me, I’m a guy, I get where he is coming from and I often haven’t been the most compassionate partner. Yet, even I was amazed by his thoughtlessness to women who he supposedly loved. He expects the lovers in his life to gamely accept the fact that he has a compulsion with sex with hookers, yet he is startlingly intolerant of their foibles. The fact that he’s witty and he kind of acknowledges this unfair imbalance (though not always), doesn’t make him seem like less of an asshole.
The actresses playing prostitutes in this film are all incredibly sexy – no toothless tranny streetwalkers in Zahedi’s fantasy world. Then again, the insanely patient women that he dates are also way too hot to put up with this goofy loser and all of his issues. This problem is compounded by the fact that he often shows a little real-life footage of the real woman he is portraying and without fail they are not nearly as attractive as the actresses he has hired to be their stand-ins.
Zahedi keeps breaking the third wall to let us know this is just a movie, after all, so give him a break. However, the broad way that he treats his material sometimes crosses a line to the uncomfortable — for example he appears to be the world’s most uncontrollable moaner when receiving oral sex, and we see this often, though thankfully other than his over-the-top reactions it is mostly done tastefully. However, from the second the prostitute bends down he sounds like a dying whale. So, is he trying to be funny here? It appears to be some sort of gag, though I can’t say I really consider it humorous.
Yet, for all these problems, I Am a Sex Addict does have a breezy fascination and a charming self-examination. It’s perfectly fine that Zahedi uses film to work through his demons. (It’s a movie as a twelve-step program.) I’m glad that he is able to take such a warts-and-all look at himself and it’s also nice that he does it in such a light, unpredictable way. The happy ending, though apparently true, does seem a little tacked on. However, you can’t begrudge the guy the soulmate that he has been searching for, according to his narration, since he was only five. I hope for her sake there won’t be a sequel. (10/06)
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2006 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: October 17, 2006.