MOVIE REVIEW: The Sex Addict
“THE SEX ADDICT”-- 2 STARS
“The Sex Addict” is a new micro-budget film coming to VOD platforms that blurs the lines of reality with a mockumentary style and has a blast doing so. The basis for the observational camera is the dissertation work of a young woman named Suzanna Murphy (Valerie Tosi). She is studying to be a sex therapist and has scouted through dozens of candidates to be her test subject. The study is for 10 days and pays $3000.
The buttoned-up square that is Suzanna settles on a middle-aged man named Rex (writer/director/star Amir Mo) and gets more than she bargained for. Rex is an utterly shameless man with an sizeable stash of personal VHS porn footage, his own homemade date rape juice, and an even larger and hilarious set of reprehensible character traits. Suzanna and her camera guy (actual cinematographer Sergio Crego) follow Rex and his vices around. An unlucky cat and an impressionable high school intern named Theodore (Caleb Thomas) are along for the ride as well.
Mo’s film nails the mockumentary look and tone. Shot in and around the unassuming L.A. streets, Crego’s clean camera works every room to capture the voyeuristic viewpoints while still being in on the joke through long takes and extended scene shifts. What starts as a 10-day sample turns into a month-long-plus dive down Rex’s dirty rabbit hole. “The Sex Addict” throws a bit too many sequences together and adds up to be a somewhat loose collection of tangents. However, the central character is just too good.
Amir Mo is an unstoppable fountain of chatter rolling with all kinds of uncensored confidence. Not many of his cast members, even Tosi going tit-for-tat as the naive foil, can keep up with his comic velocity. “The Sex Addict” shows off his ballsy writing right there with his go-for-broke performance dedication. He is quite a discovery for a first-time feature effort.
Thanks to Mo’s energy, the comic timing of the scripted dialogue and Jared Mizel’s editing is a tad too quick from a syncopation standpoint. Quite a few of the clever little ribs, digs, and gags in the rapid-fire repartee do not linger for further effect. Sometimes the jokes trample over each other, but not before kicking up plenty of silly dust. The speed that serves some scenes well spoils others.
“The Sex Addict” is tailor-made to serve comedy fans that soak up humor akin to “The Office” and “Parks and Recreation.” The humor is naturally vulgar and dark, which isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. The crowd that will be repulsed can be replaced by those rolling on the floor laughing. “The Sex Addict” is a ways away from the supreme mockumentary exemplars of Christopher Guest, but that’s the perfect plane for Amir Mo and company to aspire to. The sky’s the limit with unflinching courage like his.
LESSON #1: SEX ADDICTS HAVE THEIR PARTICULARS, BUT ONE OF THOSE IS NOT AN OFF SWITCH-- The film’s tagline is “What doesn’t kill you makes you harder.” Rex is voracious with an unphased conscience. He has his triggers and kinks with little to no desire to be cured. Mo’s film plays sex addiction for laughs and milks the anything-and-everything road.
LESSON #2: IF YOU’RE HAPPY DOING SOMETHING, KEEP DOING IT-- Everyone is allowed free will to make their own choices. Who am I to tell a sex addict, or any other addict for that matter, they are wrong if they find true happiness in their chosen depravity. That’s for them to decide and not my place to judge.