Addicted (2014) / Romance-Drama

MPAA Rated: R for strong sexual content, nudity, language and brief drug use
Running Time: 106 min.

Cast: Sharon Leal, Boris Kodjoe, William Levy, Emayatzy Corinealdi, Tasha Smith, Tyson Beckford, Maria Howell, Kat Graham
Director: Bille Woodruff
Screenplay: Christina Welsh, Ernie Barbarash

Review published October 21, 2014

Addicted is a snooze-inducing erotic thriller made by people who must not know that cheap titillation in feature films went out of style when porn on the internet became commonplace years ago. Based on the erotic novel from Zane, the movie plays out like a 'dangerous obsession' sex flick from the mid-1980s to early-1990s, a la 9 1/2 Weeks, Wild Orchid, and a bit of Fatal Attraction.  Adrian Lyne's soft-core style is cribbed quite a bit, including the very similar Unfaithful in 2002, though it should be noted that Zane's novel pre-dates that film's release.  Those who've seen 2009's Beyoncé/Idris Elba flick, Obsessed, will also feel a bit of deja vu, except with the genders reversed.

Sharon Leal (Dreamgirls, Why Did I Get Married) stars as Atlanta-based art aficionado and publicist Zoe Reynard, who seemingly has the perfect life, with a hunky and loving hubby named Jason (Kodjoe, Baggage Claim), two awesome kids, a great career, and a beautiful home. The only thing wrong is that husband falls asleep after two lovemaking sessions in one evening when she's ready for round three or more. Since she can't get her freak on at home, Zoe soon gives in to temptation when Quinton Canosa (Levy, Cuidado con el Angel), a charismatic artist she is courting for a business opportunity, makes a move, and soon she tells Jason she has to work long hours every night when she's working hard between the sheets. She wants to stop, but can't give up the good sex, to the point where she sees a shrink (Smith, ATL) to help her with her sex addiction. With hubby wondering where his wife is at all hours, her lack of focus at work taking its toll, and a Latin lover wanting more and more of her affection, something's gotta give.

Directed by music video helmer Bille Woodruff (Beauty Shop, Honey 2), he pushes forward the glossy eroticism above and beyond such things as character and storyline, and while the titillation factor is high, the actual sexual acts are surprisingly tame considering the main character is scoffing at her husband to show a little more experimentation in bed. It all becomes predictable when you learn early on that Canosa is a "sensitive artist" whose father committed suicide when his mother left them.

A handsome cast isn't enough to make a good movie, and without anything else going for it, we're a long way from that. Sexual addiction is a serious subject, but for this steamy soap opera, it's merely an excuse to see its star engage in continuous coupling with several men for a few cheap thrills.  It's just all one big erotic fantasy, where characters exist in a bubble world in which even the snap-back to reality (here, the home and work life) seems like one big idealized thing of perfection that the character is risking for the allure of danger.  There isn't a shred of honesty gleaned from the story or its characters, leaving us in the audience to merely admire the sculpted bodies that undulate in a relatively non-explicit manner before our eyes.

The movie starts off pretty silly and grows ever more ridiculous as it proceeds, including a happenstance scene in which the husband visits the apartment where a tryst is taking place for a hot work tip for his architecture firm.  The tells on where the movie is going are pretty evident from the moment Jason notices that the sculpture he's been given is 'heavy'.  Pile on a third lover in the mix with Tyson Beckford (Into the Blue), a model-turned-actor who has the sense to actually play his role for comedy.  Or make that unintentional laughs, another line that got guffaws in the screening I attended happens when Zoe asks her psychiatrist is there's a pill she can take for her nymphomania.

All in all, it's empty calories for viewers who will gladly embrace vapid entertainment in exchange for a few fleeting shots of gorgeous actors in states of undress.  Skinemax regulars, here it comes.

Qwipster's rating::

©2014 Vince Leo