Love Addict is a flailing effort at a bearable romantic comedy. Director Charis Orchard’s film follows “Owen Maxwell” (Elliot Haddaway), a successful divorce attorney and grotesque womanizer, as he faces the greatest challenge of his life: instead of helping to alleviate his cigarette addiction, his hypnotherapist hypnotizes him into developing an allergy to his favorite pastime, sex. A mixture of terrible acting, shallow characters that enforce ridiculous stereotypes, a bad script, and poor editing, this film was difficult to watch. (RAK: 1.5/5)
Review by FF2 Intern Rachel A. Kastner
“Owen Maxwell” (Elliot Haddaway) became a lawyer because of the money, cars, and girls that the title brings him. He is a successful divorce attorney, living in a huge bachelor pad with two live-in housekeepers, and he has the “magic touch”. No matter where Owen goes, he can pick up any woman he wants in under a minute – and he doesn’t even bother to ask or remember their names. The only thing he doesn’t like about himself is the fact that he smokes.
The first twenty minutes of the film follow Owen, giving the audience a glimpse into his unrefined and gross lifestyle. He repeatedly chases dumb women who he deems hot. When his best friend is having a release party for a novel, Owen brings a beautiful but dumb date. When he sees someone more attractive, he ditches his date to flirt on the terrace with this new ‘eye candy’ in an attempt to bring her home with him. Sitting on the other side of the terrace is “Eileen Jenkins” (Alyshia Ochse), another guest of the party. Eileen sees Owen seduce this woman by talking about his job and money, and calls him out for being a pig. Unbothered, Owen leaves that night and sleeps with the girl he picked up.
The next day, Eileen Jenkins walks into a law firm looking for a lawyer to help her with her divorce. She is divorcing her husband but is looking for a lawyer to help her keep the rehabilitation facility that she manages. To her dismay, the man who was recommended for the job is Owen Maxwell. At first, he doesn’t even recognize Eileen, mistaking her for someone he must’ve slept with. Eileen is extremely offended by him but decides to work with him on her case because supposedly, he is the best divorce attorney there is.
Later that day, Owen, at the recommendation of a friend, goes to see a hypnotherapist in the hopes of curing him of his addiction to smoking. Owen doesn’t recognize “Dr. Candi Barnes” (Nicole Helen), but she recognizes him from a night they spent together a year prior. In a ploy of revenge, Dr. Candi Barnes hypnotizes him to have a physical aversion to sex. The results are severe. Every time Owen is turned on or interested in a woman, he immediately vomits and becomes very ill.
Owen attempts every form of rehabilitation, and ultimately has to employ the help of his own client, Eileen, seeking rehabilitation in the facility she manages. Through rehab sessions in which Owen has to participate in activities that have nothing to do with women or sex, Owen is supposed to overcome his aversion to sex and survive through his detox.
Throughout the film, Owen is also given important divorce cases to work through at his office, with the incentive of becoming a partner of the law firm. He also employs his friends to help him find Candi Barnes, so that he might be able to undo the hypnotherapy. Ultimately, Owen is able to learn from his time with Eileen that there is more to life than sex and more to women than their bodies.
Although the initial idea of the plot seems amusing, “hypnotherapy-gone-awry”, the execution of this script and production lead to a very disappointing product. The majority of the characters in the film are shallow and underdeveloped; almost every female character reinforcing grotesque stereotypes (even if it is supposed to be a comedy and a farce of these stereotypes, the film is still hard to watch), and most of the dialogue is superfluous and uninteresting. A few very funny lines save the film, but they are few and far between. The film wraps up in contradictions and although the writers try to tie a bow on top of the whole thing, the ending just isn’t unbelievable. In terms of production quality, the film is way too long for what it is, and the poor quality of the ADR throughout was extremely distracting.
Usually, I can forgive plot failures in rom-coms if they either are genuinely funny, or provide a real love story, but Love Addict served neither. Sadly, I wouldn’t recommend this film to anyone looking for a quality rom-com.
Top Photo: Love Addict promotional poster.
Middle Photo: Eileen Jenkins visits Owen in his home.
Bottom Photo: Owen becomes ill when he goes to speak with a beautiful client.
Photo Credits: Tricoast Productions
Q: Does Love Addict pass the Bechdel Test?
There are very few conversations in this film that don’t focus on sex or Owen Maxwell.