Posted in: Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on October 4th, 2006
One of the nice things about I Am A Sex Addict is that it is both a comedy and a documentary. I am thrilled that at some point somebody figured out that documentaries can be entertaining as well as informative. Filmmakers have certainly turned the camera on themselves before, but I don’t recall seeing one be quite as intimately honest as Zahedi is here. This is a film that is just what the title suggests… an examination of the life of a sexaholic. The document is sometimes funny, but frequently uncomfortable… While the film presents itself as an examination of the view of a heightened sex drive as an addition, it spends much more time illustrating the fact that the subject has the addition than the causes and effects of it. It is a documentary that presents a story without any exposition. The fundamental question of “why?” is never really addressed.
The truly interesting part of this film is not the subject matter, but the way in which the story is told. The filmmaker tells his personal tale through speaking directly to the audience, reenactments, and even some actual photographs and personal archival footage. In one scene, the writer/director/star/autobiographical subject tells of how he cast the role of one of the prostitutes, then compares her casting photo to his on-screen wife and a picture of his actual wife at the time. The subject mater may be a little off-putting, but the execution is really quite unique and interesting.
The typical documentary rules apply to the film’s technical aspects. Stereo sound is the only available option, unfortunately. There is nothing particularly wrong with the stereo format, but it is not very conducive to supporting a full film score. Luckily, this film has a minimal score, and the majority of the piece is dialog driven. This is most certainly not a disc that you will want to use to show off the power of your home theater system.
The video quality is a story unto itself. The film is presented in the original full-screen format, which is fine, but nothing special. The picture is grainy, and it looks a bit washed out. However, in an odd sort of way, this disc looks more like projected film than any disc I have seen in a long time. The edges are just soft enough to not look like a Barbara Walters special, yet harsh enough to tell that much of the film was shot digitally. It is an odd balance to strike, but somehow this film hits it. It’s like a poor man’s attempt at big budget film stock, and it is marginally successful.
This disc is pretty light on the extras, which is to be expected. There are some great Weinstein Company trailers here, which is something I am always happy to see. The real extras are a series of three behind-the-scenes featurettes from different scenes in the film. Since the film itself is really something of a behind-the-scenes bit, these segments don’t really add anything to what the viewer has already seen. In fact, they are actually a bit dull. Once you have seen the film, that’s about it.
This is a truly bizarre little film. There is a lot to like here, but I just can’t recommend it for all audiences. This is something that will appeal to film students much more than psychology majors. The truth is, I think this guy probably needs therapy much more than he needs a hit film. The plot is pretty thin, but I always enjoy unique storytelling techniques. I might be able to recommend this disc for a rental, but nothing more.