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IFC presents
I Am a Sex Addict (2005)

"My last two marriages fell apart because I used to have this sex addiction. And I don't really have that anymore. Well, at least not in the way I used to."
- Caveh (Caveh Zahedi)

Review By: Rich Rosell   
Published: January 05, 2007

Stars: Caveh Zahedi
Other Stars: Rebecca Lord, Emily Morse, Amanda Henderson, Greg Watkins, Olia Natasha
Director: Caveh Zahedi

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (language, nudity, sexuality)
Run Time: 01h:38m:53s
Release Date: September 12, 2006
UPC: 796019795470
Genre: comedy


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B+ BB-B- C+

DVD Review

I Am A Sex Addict is a helter-skelter indie mix of comedy and drama, and is also filmmaker Caveh Zahedi's theoretically autobiographical account of his own ten-year-battle with sex addiction and the women that he loved.

Or not.

Meaning I'm not sure how autobiographical it is, because I don't really know how much of what goes on actually happened or if this was all for show. However, within the universe of this 99-minute film, it is presented as fact and I'm good with that. Zahedi's story as presented here is still interesting, and I didn't necessarily feel weighed down wondering if it was fictitious or not.

The angle here is that Zahedi continually breaks down the so-called "4th wall" by talking directly to the camera, narrating his life and romantic turmoil, often in the middle of conversations with other characters. Scenes are started over, animation pops up periodically, home movie footage is used, and there are even a few moments where he discusses issues with the actresses playing the women from his life (including adult film star Rebecca Lord). At one point the story is supposed to taking place in Paris, but the onscreen Zahedi makes a point of mentioning how it was actually shot in San Francisco for budget reasons. That approach could potentially be troublesome—or worse: annoying—but Zahedi and his soft-spoken deadpan delivery compliment the technique, and by the time I hit the 20 minute mark I had basically fallen in with concept and it didn't seem especially offputting or forced.

Zahedi's problem is that he has a prostitute fetish of sorts, which when combined with his self-transcendent desire to have an open and honest dialogue with the women he is involved with leads to the expected trouble. We follow him as moves from relationship to relationship, with each woman carrying a very different personality, but all of whom ultimately share the same repulsion at his hooker needs. There are strange situations—such as a masturbation incident in a church confessional or a Clinton-esque discussion of intercourse versus oral sex—as his uncontrollable desires for a pay-for-sex encounter continually walk all over his personal life, such as the visit to an Oriental massage parlor where a language barrier prevents him from fulfilling all of his fantasies.

There is something of a abrupt tonal change during the film's final third, when things with the charismatically free-spirited, free-drinking Devin (Amanda Henderson) get a little dark, leading to an ending that becomes a little less comedic and a little more serious. The hook of the whole talk-to-the-camera bit never really wears thin, even as the mood shifts, and Zahedi boldly has his onscreen persona saying and thinking things that probably go unspoken in most marriages.

This isn't a primer on how to talk to your significant other or how to deal with sex issues, but I'll bet you a doughnut that if you watch this with your spouse there will be a few questions raised before it's over.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: Zahedi's film is presented in its original 1.33:1 fullframe aspect ratio. Edges are somewhat soft, but color reproduction generally looks warm and natural, as do fleshtones. Some grain occurs periodically, as does some minor background pixelation in a few scenes.

This one falls just below average.

Image Transfer Grade: B-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno


Audio Transfer Review: The sole audio track is a 2.0 stereo blend, and it isn't terribly fancy, but provides clear voice quality (the bulk of which is Zahedi's voiceover narration). The recurring cello theme music sounds richer than the dialogue passages do, while a bit of distortion occurs during some of the louder, more heated exchanges. Overall an adequate, ordinary presentation that doesn't offer anything dramatic.

Audio Transfer Grade: B-

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 26 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish with remote access
4 Other Trailer(s) featuring Killshot, Clerks II, Pulse, Sorry, Haters
3 Featurette(s)
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: In addition to a few trailers, there are three brief behind-the-scenes bits that look at the way particular sequences were done. The segments are The Ecstasy Scene (11m:02s), The Hotel Scene (11m:23s) and The Mushroom Scene (10m:54s), with the common thread being some truly bizarre behavior from Caveh Zahedi, as well as some uncalled for full frontal. The best of the three is the setup for the hotel sex scene between Zahedi and Amanda (Devin) Henderson, as she proves herself to be a very wild and crazy woman who looks to be as open and blunt as her character. Wow.

The disc is cut into 26 chapters, and features optional subtitles in English or Spanish.

Extras Grade: C+

 

Final Comments

Caveh Zahedi purports to tell part of his life story here, the part dealing with his sex addiction. It's funny at times, a bit depressing at others, and there is enough frank sex talk for three films. His approach is clever enough to make the potentially dull drama parts visually interesting, and the gimmick actually holds up.

Definitely worth a rental.

 


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