The autobiographical docu-drama, I Am a Sex Addict, has a lot of merits, despite Caveh Zahedi’s painfully self-conscious presence in front of the camera. His manner has been compared to Woody Allen, but I would agree with that in only an abstract way. The self-effacing honesty is reminiscent of the Wood-man, but not nearly so irritating nor contrived. Yet, lacking Allen’s budget, it stands out as amateurish and requires the intent acceptance of a serious Indie aficionado to see it for what it is: A refreshing breath of truth, tinged with the kind of humour that makes you squirm in your seat, thinking, I’ve done something like that before. Or, I could have done something like that.
The tale follows Caveh’s spiral from prostitute fantasy to prostitute fetish, ending up on the ashes of two destroyed marriages and a number of failed relationships. After finally finding salvation in the basement of a Methodist church, sitting in the circle of a male-only sex addict’s meeting, Caveh embraces his epiphany and ends the film on a hopeful note: The tearful wedding ceremony of his third marriage. It’s from the dressing room of the church, just before the ceremony, that Caveh narrates a large portion of his story.
All in all, I’d say it’s a film worth seeing, though I found it easy to divide my viewing into two evenings. It doesn’t necessarily provide any insight into the world of whore-mongering, except maybe by making it look surprisingly normal, as if it were similar to a pentient for singing show tunes in the car. Caveh’s bug-eyed discomfort probably bespeaks his true reticence to expose the emotional misery that he intimates but never expresses convincingly. Indeed, the only time he doesn’t seem too uncomfortable is when receiving numerous simulated (?) blow jobs on camera, which makes one wonder if he’s merely substituted prostitutes with struggling actresses in the pursuit of his jollies.
On the surface it seems that this whole venture has been not much more than a therapy process for him. But combined with a mesmerizing score by Hilary Soldati and quirky animations by Bob Sabiston, the humour and originality make for an interesting voyeuristic experience.