I Am a Sex Addict (2005)

Genres - Comedy Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Mockumentary, Sex Comedy  |   Release Date - Apr 5, 2006 (USA - Limited)  |   Run Time - 98 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Derek Armstrong

I Am a Sex Addict is about as nakedly confessional as you'll find among documentaries -- or rather, semi-fictionalized recreations of events featuring the person who experienced them, writer-director Caveh Zahedi. Zahedi is known for appearing in his own films -- in fact, he infamously took ecstasy on camera in I Don't Hate Las Vegas Anymore. But this is a far closer examination of personal demons, especially with such taboo topics as masturbation, sex addiction, and prostitute fetishism on the table. Zahedi delves into some really serious relationship dysfunctions in this film, yet still manages to see the humor in each situation, resulting in a surprisingly airy tone. A participant in Waking Life, Richard Linklater's rotoscoped philosophy lesson, Zahedi is always good for a fascinating perspective on the human condition, which he voices with eccentric and engaging speech rhythms. In trademark style, he's cobbled together a highly watchable pastiche of truth and artifice, repeatedly calling attention to his own project of making the film. Most notable in this regard: the thematically coincidental casting of French porn icon Rebecca Lord to play his ex-wife, as Lord was just transitioning into mainstream film and wasn't known to Zahedi at the time. Not surprisingly, Zahedi also possesses a wicked sense of self-deprecation, with hilarious costume choices for the younger versions of himself, and a recurring joke about his lack of sexual stamina. What's most interesting is how he tries to involve each girlfriend or wife in his obsession, almost pathologically avoiding the instinct to be deceptive. By viewing his own "shameful" dalliances with anonymous sex through a light-hearted lens, Zahedi renders theses dalliances somewhat "normal," in turn providing a measure of therapy to fellow sex addicts in the audience. This tone also lends greater impact to the more serious moments, as when he plays a wrenching audio tape he recorded of his own breakdown at a sex addicts anonymous meeting.