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Director: Billie Woodruff
Starring: Sharon Leal, William Levy, Boris Kodjoe
I don't read erotic fiction books. I'm not saying that to save face; I really have never read a steamy romance novel, nor have I ever been tempted to. I guess I can understand the appeal, especially to 30- and 40-year-old women who are looking for a bit of innocent excitement. It seems to be a safe way to experience some fantasies, to explore your sexuality, to end your evening on an up note. And I know books like Fifty Shades have become very popular, although those are a slightly different breed than your average adult paperback with Fabio on the cover. My point is, I don't think I was prepared to watch a movie based on a book of this genre, to watch overly-attractive, highly-sexual, ultra-dramatic characters fumble about with their lives and with their clothes. Or perhaps Addicted simply isn't a very good story, novel, or film.
On the surface, Zoe Reynard has a perfect life. She is a successful advertising executive who specializes in pairing artists with companies who will take their work to the public. Her husband, Jason, is a prominent architect who stays busy on the latest development projects in downtown Atlanta. Zoe & Jason have been together since school, have two wonderful children, and never fail to tell each other just how much they love and appreciate that they are not only soul mates but also best friends. They're rich, young, have an excellent sex life, careers that are always pointed up, and really couldn't ask for more. But perfection is a fragile thing, and the secrets that Zoe is keeping deep inside are about to tear the fabric of this lovely existence to shreds.
Zoe is a sex addict. At first she could deny it; having sex with her husband multiple times per day helped a little. But lately she doesn't feel satisfied, no matter what, and she's beginning to look elsewhere to fill that insatiable urge that never seems to go away. The opportunity presents itself in the form of the city's most popular artist, a man named Quentin Canosa. He's incredibly talented, gorgeously handsome, and is immediately attracted to Zoe as soon as they meet. The attraction is mutual, though Zoe at first attempts to deny her feelings, clinging to the fact that she is married, has children, and that an affair could ruin everything she has built over the years. But the desire is too strong, the feelings too deep, and one encounter spirals out of control into much more than she can handle, more men than she's ever been with before, and an addiction that she won't be able to defeat on her own.
I don't really have a frame of reference, but I would guess that the way this story is presented is par for the course. It seems to have the elements you'd expect from a trashy romance novel; the beautiful woman, the strapping husband, sex in the shower, the Latino stranger who paints your portrait while you pose nude. Sounds like things that housewives would go for, and I can understand why this genre is a popular choice. How many people are sexy ad execs with perfect lives, toned bodies, multiple hunky partners, and insatiable sexual appetites? Can't be many, and so fantasies emerge, we wonder what it would be like to be these people, and we escape into their world where the fact that they are imperfect after all doesn't really matter. So, as far as the eroticism of the story goes, I think Addicted has what fans are looking for.
I wonder how the novel matches the film, and which is more enjoyable to those who follow this style. The movie turns up the heat, with plenty of seduction, sex, and secrets, creating a world of intimate moments. There is brief nudity, though most of the action is of the steamy, thrusting variety. I would bet that the book goes into more detail, and perhaps even plays with those comical terms we all like to poke fun at but secretly enjoy. There's a certain amount of eroticism here, but I assume the novel has more, and actually another detail begins to take the lead by the end of the film. Addiction becomes the main theme, complete with therapists, past trauma, forgiveness, and acceptance of the problem. The characters struggle with calling Zoe's mistakes symptoms of her addiction or merely episodes of cheating, but that's something audiences can figure out for themselves. Either way, here is erotic fiction on the screen; distinctly mild, not very well acted, perhaps a bit cheesy and directed solely towards one demographic, but nothing more than what is advertised. Which becomes both a positive and a negative of this movie; it's nothing more than what you'd expect from a paperback romance.
Video: With an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 (16x9 Widescreen), the video is exactly as fine as the film dictated. There was no waste of clarity, but the picture was fine enough to display a nice eye for color, a good contrast, and a crisp enough picture to not be a distraction. The film was shot using an Arri Alexa camera with Panavision Primo lenses; high quality but not perfection.
Audio: There are a few audio options of the disc. The film can be played using English 5.1 Dolby Digital or Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital. There is also an option for English or Spanish subtitles. The audio quality was fine, but again not perfect. It was strong enough to support the heavy amount of dialogue, and nothing extra was needed for any action sequences or high impact scenes.
Extras: The DVD has many extras available. Getting Intimate With Zane is a three-minute long segment of the author's thoughts. Filming Addicted With The Hottest Men On The Planet is a five-minute long sit-down with the three main men of the film and some discussion about their roles. There are three deleted scenes: Zoe's First Therapy Session, Corey & Zoe Bar Scene, Zoe Desperation Montage. And there are four trailers: Middle of Nowhere, Temptation, Dear White People, Aaliyah.
Skip It. The story behind this film was written by Zane, the pseudonym for an erotic fiction writer whose Zane's Sex Chronicles is a big hit on Cinemax. That should tell you what you need to know if you're trying to decide whether or not to watch this film or to buy the DVD. It's hard for me to decipher just how good this movie exactly is, since the genre itself is inherently crappy. But I also can't recommend this film to anyone, so perhaps there's my answer. It's somewhat sexy, mostly over-dramatic, with bad acting and unbelievable plot lines. The addiction topic is an interesting one, but this isn't going to be the next groundbreaking new expose. Addicted is what it is; you probably already know whether or not you enjoy that genre. The video quality of the DVD was high, the audio was fine, and there are a few extras if you're looking for more. For me, this small taste was enough, and I don't see myself delving any deeper.