Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Love Sick: Secrets of a Sex Addict

Love Sick: Secrets of a Sex Addict is about noted author/sex addict Sue Silverman and her various secrets. I'm usually wary of Lifetime films that are based on true stories, but this one was pretty tolerable. On to the review!

We meet Sue at a fundraiser. Her husband is trying to raise money for the local hospital and they're wining and dining a bunch of rich folks. One rich gentleman eyes Sue from across the room. They meet up at the bar and both order martinis. They flirt but they're both married. That doesn't stop Rick from planting a wet one on Sue when no one's looking. They kiss by some vines. Sue keeps one of the vine leaves as a souvenir because she is pretty obviously crazy.

Rick calls up Sue a few days later while their hubbies are at work and they bone at a motel. Sue then steals Rick's Zippo because, again, the crazy.

Sue continues the affair with Rick as her home life starts falling apart. She only has a part-time job and she is failing at her womanly duties. This is made clear when Sue misses a job interview and Sue's husband complains that the cooking and cleaning aren't being done. Lifetime is painting the husband as the bad guy.

Now, demanding that a wife cook and clean is, uh, not acceptable. However, when the house is falling apart and, theoretically, the little missus should be home or at job interviews, if she's at neither, it raises some questions, doesn't it?

The husband goes away for a week on business. This drives Sue mad because she has some pretty severe abandonment issues. She needs to call her husband every day to make him promise that he's coming back. More crazy!

At this point, Sue is head over heels for Rick. So much so that she violates rule number one of having an illicit affair and shows up at his family's house and meets the wife and kid. Rick, shockingly, doesn't take too kindly to this and Sue freaks out. She puts on her sexiest lingerie (which she keeps in a secret drawer!) and her sexiest perfume (which she compulsively sniffs when she's feeling down) and goes to a dive bar. One mustachioed dude offers her a cigarette and BAM, it's a one way train to Sex Town.

To complicate things further, Sue starts sleeping with a new client at her part-time job. He's French and mysterious. He tells her that free will is a dream and a bunch of other gobbely-gook designed to get her in the sack. She resists but acquiesces to his sexy demands when, on the first date, he promises to marry her and take away the pain behind her eyes.

Sue foolishly tells her best friend of this plan and she isn't buying it. The friend gives Sue a shrink's business card.

Sue runs into Frenchy at a bar where she meets his wife. Frenchy awesomely pretends to not know Sue's name. This starts a nervous breakdown and she calls her friend for help. The friend and her husband come to her house to check on her and Sue thanks them by trying to sleep with the husband. This fails. To the shrink we go!

Oh, somewhere in this mess Sue goes to her parents' 35th anniversary party. At least she doesn't have daddy issues.

Jay kay! Her dad had been fucking her on the regular for her entire childhood and adolescence. He even called Sue his "real wife." And they say romance is dead. Sue tells her shrink that she would be naked during these molestations save for a scarf that her dad bought her. The worst part? She still has the fucking scarf (and I do mean that...it is a scarf that was used during fucking). And she smells it when she is feeling depressed! Gak!

The shrink tells Sue that's she's a sex addict and that he can't help her until she's sober. So, she decides to go to a 28 day sexless boot camp for women. All right! Now we're talking. The natural progression of the plot leads to sexy pillow fights. There is no other option, right?

Before going away, she tells her husband that she has a problem and she needs to get it fixed. The cuckolded husband tells her in no uncertain terms that he could give a fuck about her. Well played, sir. She also has one last goodbye fuck with Rick who takes the opportunity to take Polaroids of Sue in her underwear to remember her by. Tellingly, the photos cropped out her head leaving just some ta-tas and a hoo-ha. Sue is having sex at the expense of her humanity!

So, sexless boot camp. There is an obvious lack of pillow fighting. It's just people talking about their problems and shit. Argh. Sue develops the courage to not use sex as a crutch. This is proven when a chiseled dreadlocked orderly tries to bone her and she refuses. Huzzah.

The desk in her room at the clinic has a few notes that previous sex addicts have written on the wood. Sue writes "Love surrounds us everyday." This is notable because Sue is supposed to be a fucking writer. It's "Love surrounds us every day."

(Note, I am also supposed to be a writer and I make that mistake constantly. Terri, my silent editor, fixes this for me.)

The film ends with Sue at a book reading. She is sharing her battle with sex addiction with the world as her therapist observes glowingly.


I hate the beginning of this film. I don't know if you caught this, but the movie didn't have much in the way of a plot. Sue just sleeps with people and 90 minutes in decides to get help. Boring.

Some of the bit actors, namely Rick's wife and Sue's rapey dad, were just brutal. But I guess that's all part of the fun.


But, when Sue starts going off the rails, it's a fun thing to watch. The awkward horror of finding your mistress, wife, and kid having a cocktail when you come home from work? Fantastic. And the incest angle? Brilliant.

This is admittedly sick, but I think incest has been sapped of all its shock and horror by Larry David. I don't mean in real life. Just in movies and television. I can't watch a woman baring this horrible secret without thinking of this:


Epic fail in that regard. Sue was played by some lady from that Lifetime show Army Wives. Rick was played by a guy from JAG. I recognized no one.


So we have a woman who is crazy and is ruining the lives of many, many people. Naturally, this can be blamed on men. The father is one thing. But the husband? Did they really have to portray him as such an asshole? His wife had been sleeping with the entire town and, on top of that, she kept an untidy house.


A mediocre film with some hilarious bright spots. Since this one stars a Lifetime actress, it will probably be on again sometime soon. If you have two hours to kill, why not?

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

In Her Defense

Lifetime movies are renowned for their predictability. So when a Lifetime movie keeps me guessing, it can only mean one thing: the plot doesn't make a lick of sense.

Which brings us to In Her Defense. This is one of those rare Lifetime movies that stars a bona fide Oscar winner. But not just any Oscar winner! An actress who I've had a crush on ever since I first saw her in guest appearances in television shows, like, uh, Judging Amy. (That's right. I used to watch Judging Amy. You got a problem!?) In 1986, she became the youngest woman to win the Best Actress award. Since then, she's been racking up nominations for Emmys (Emmies?) and Golden Globes as a guest star in countless television shows. So obviously she needs no introduction.

If you still don't know who it is, would it help you if I told you she was deaf?

That's right! Marlee Matlin!

As you can tell, I love Marlee Matlin. I have high hopes for anything that she's in. This is quite naive of me. If she was willing to be in a turd like What The Bleep, Lord only knows what Lifetime has in store for her.

So, we have two attorneys facing off in Canadian court. Everyone has a vague French-Canadian accent that will make every line of dialogue a puzzle for me to unlock. I guess it makes sense for a Marlee Matlin film. I had such a hard time with the accents that when Matlin spoke, deciphering her was easy as pie.

It turns out the prosecutor, Debra, and the defense attorney, Andrew, are friends. They went through law school together and train together at the local boxing center. They even used to work together before some unknown indiscretion forced Andrew to bolt for defensier pastures.

Debra invites Andrew to an art exhibit where he meets Jane. Jane is a deaf artist. Andrew finds her ravishing. As luck would have it, he knows a bit of sign language. A match made in heaven?

No. Jane is married to an abusive Montreal mobster named Noby. Wait. Noby!? This guy is supposed to be intimidating? He's named Noby for Christ's sake.

So Jane visits Andrew at work asking all sorts of questions about divorce. Noby is worth about twenty million Canadian dollars. According to Jane and Noby's pre-nup, Jane would only be able to get 1/40th of that. Unless Noby dies. Hmmmm.

Andrew is an idiot so he decides to help her in the divorce. He drives to her Canadian ranch and she feeds him muffins. Then, while they're both chewing, she starts kissing him. It's really gross. Then they fuck on a rug in front of a fire.

Jane asks for some tissues from a cabinet and Andrew notices a handgun. Well you can't introduce a gun in the first act without it going off in the third. Or, in this case, you can't introduce a gun in the first act without it going off in the first act. A few days later, Jane and Andrew are again fucking in front of a fireplace when Noby shows up throwing punches. Andrew shoots him dead and ignorantly insists that they cover it up instead of calling the police.

I would expect that kind of stupid shit from someone who has the cards stacked against them. Like when four white guys on a Georgia river shoot a rapist with a bow and arrow. That shit needed to be covered up. After all, burying someone under a lake is as buried as someone can be.

Because this is how Lifetime movies work, Debra is assigned the case. One of Noby's underlings tells the cops that he sold Jane a gun that matches the gun that was used to shoot Noby in the heart. That's all the evidence they have. A drug addict claiming to sell her a gun. That and some previous affairs. Apparently this is enough to try someone for murder in Canada. Jane wisely hires the obviously incompetent Andrew as her attorney.

Then we get a flash forward from the district attorney (Debra is his ADA). He mentions the elements of the perfect murder. An abused woman, a gun, and a smart attorney. Um, ok? Then he says that the murder is perfect because we as humans are not. What the Hell does that mean?

So there's a trial and blah, blah, blah. Andrew is still fucking Jane by the fireplace. Debra notices something is up and warns Andrew to stop the affair until the trial is over.

The only interesting information that we're given at the trial is that Jane is clearly up to something. She had had a few affairs with lawyers prior to Andrew. And Noby made a bunch of calls to Jane in the days before he was shot. Calls to her at the Montreal Ritz-Carlton. So Jane might have set this entire thing up.

Andrew has a friend who is doing some sleuth work on the side. He says he found something about Jane that will blow open the entire case. The friend is quickly shot dead at a farmer's market. The gunman managed to time the gunshot with a child popping a balloon so no heard the gun go off. And, yeah, I know that makes no sense.

Andrew, mourning the death of his murdered friend, gets an anonymous phone call leading him to a bunch of documents that could implicate someone else in the shooting. He uses this evidence at trial and gets the charges dismissed. The other dude, another one of Noby's associates, is found with the murder weapon.

Wait a second. The murder weapon is in Andrew's safety deposit box. Aha! Jane switched the guns! When Andrew calls her on it, Jane tells her that she is totally in love with him. Andrew buys this hook, line, and sinker.

Andrew's career as an attorney skyrockets. He makes partner at some fancy schmancy firm and is on his way to making millions. But then Andrew gets mailed the explosive evidence that got his friend killed. It turns out Debra and Jane were both cheerleaders at the same high school. My response would be, "So what?" But Andrews pays a surprise visit to Jane and she is playing footsie with her Debra, HER LESBIAN LOVER.

Andrew threatens both of them with a gun. Debra explains that everyone wins. Andrew's career has taken off and Jane and Debra get to live together with Noby's riches. Sure Debra had to kill Andrew's friend, but you got to break a few eggs to make that delicious lesbian omelet. Andrew storms off, but not before Jane tells him that she wasn't lying when she said she loved him. It's just that she loves Debra more. Like any good attention-starved college student, Jane loves the person, not the gender.

Andrew remains pissed off and turns himself into the police. Remember the D.A. talking about the perfect murder involving the attorney? Now the D.A. is saying that the only thing that went wrong in this perfect murder was the human element.

Well, then it isn't the perfect murder, is it?


Point deductions everywhere for the French-Canadian accents. I had to pay complete attention for two hours to understand every word. The acting was pretty abysmal. It needed more Matlin. (Do you think she brings her Oscar to the Lifetime sets just to put everyone else in their pathetic little place?)

If you couldn't tell, the plot was ludicrous.


But not funny ludicrous. Just stupid ludicrous. Usually I enjoy it when a Lifetime attorney has ridiculous highlights and people absolutely insist on making love in front of fireplaces and ONLY in front of fireplaces. But it left me cold here.


Once we get past Matlin, it's slim pickings here.


I was so confused. Here we have a movie where the protagonist is male. Fuck the heck is that all about? But then we find out it's a conspiracy where the two female characters are smarter than everyone else. That makes more sense.


Not a great movie, but it was Citizen Kane compared to the dross that I've been watching on Lifetime over the past month. Tonight there's a movie about a blind woman learning karate to confront her rapist. Perhaps that's the return to glory we've all been waiting for.