Sex addict and medical school dropout Victor Mancini cons a series of Good Samaritans to help pay for his mother's hospital bills, only to have everything come crashing down around him as he learns the truth about his past and tries to cope with his uncertain future. When we first meet Victor, he has some serious problems and few legitimate solutions. He is a sex addict who indulges his "addiction" by hooking up with girls he meets at his sex addicts' support group. A failed med school student, he now does whatever can to support his mother, who has early-onset Alzheimer's and requires around-the-clock hospital care.
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To help offset his bills, he works at a Colonial reenactment theme park with Denny, his best friend and fellow sex addict. But the pay is low, the job terrible, and they are constantly being berated by Lord High Charlie, who runs the theme park like his own personal fiefdom.
Victor has no choice but to resort to extreme measures. He comes up with the scheme of going to fancy restaurants and then "choking" on his meal, counting on someone in the restaurant coming to his aid and saving him. Of course, this scheme plays out exactly as he intends, and the Good Samaritans, who enjoy feeling heroic, regularly send him birthday cards and letters filled with cash to remind Victor, and themselves, of how they saved his life. Victor uses this cash to pay for his mother's medical care.
He visits his mother frequently but she rarely recognizes him. During these visits, Victor becomes involved with Dr. Paige Marshall, a pretty young doctor who seems to have primary care of his mother. They try to have sex, but for some reason Victor can't quite perform. It's also during these visits that his mother hints that she has something important to reveal to Victor, but he can't get her to tell him directly. Victor has Denny visit her in his place, and Denny succeeds in procuring her diary, which Denny says contains all of the answers he seeks. Unfortunately, the diary is written in Italian. Dr. Marshall claims to be fluent in Italian and offers to translate it for him. What she finds is nothing that Victor expected.
Dr. Marshall tells him that, according to the diary, Victor is the reincarnation of Jesus. Apparently, his mother stole a piece of desiccated foreskin from a Catholic priest in Italy and impregnated herself with it. Victor is skeptical, but stunned. Meanwhile, Denny has been fired from the theme park. Due to the influence of his new girlfriend, a stripper named Beth, Denny decides to redirect his sex addiction into something constructive: namely, collecting rocks from around town and building a castle, one rock at a time.
Victor at last comes to terms with his identity. He accepts that he might just be Jesus. That night, he visits his mother for the last time and tells her that he read her diary and forgives her for not telling him the truth before. His mother tells him that that wasn't the truth in the diary. The truth is that, when he was a baby, his "mother" stole him from another woman and pretended he was hers so she, an Italian, could stay in America. Before she can say anymore, she chokes on her dinner and dies. Dr. Marshall comes running in to attempt to save her and Victor notices for the first time that "Dr" Marshall has the same bracelet as the patients from the hospital's mental ward.
With the weight of all these lies removed, however traumatic, Victor is suddenly at peace. Realizing that the reason he couldn't perform sexually with Paige is because he is in love with her, Victor makes the decision to forgo all the pretend intimacy all his cheap sexual encounters provided and push through with the messy but genuine intimacy a relationship with Paige allows. The movie ends with the two of them on a plane, successfully making love the only way two adoring deviants can: loudly and in (relative) public.
Best part of story, including ending:
The movie alters the book's plot through line slightly, by refocusing Victor's journey from the general grappling with the truth to a grappling with his need for genuine intimacy. The different ending reflects this in a more explicit way than the book's ending, but it plays quite a bit weaker. So while I liked it, I felt a little disappointed.
Best scene in story:
My favorite scene, and possibly the most hilarious, is the one where Victor is attempting to handle the increasingly absurd stage directions of the woman who wants the "perfect" simulated rape committed to her.
Opinion about the main character:
Sam Rockwell turns Victor Mancini from a relatively unlikable book character into a far more sympathetic one on screen.