Friday May 23, 1997
"Addicted to Love," a romantic comedy creepier than cute, should be titled "Addicted to Revenge." This is one of those movies that is more disturbing than its makers seem to have intended.
Matthew Broderick's Sam is an astronomer with his head so much in the stars that he doesn't realize that his girlfriend Linda (Kelly Preston), his sweetheart from childhood, is bored to tears in their idyllic rural community. Sam says he can't get away from work just now, but when Linda flies off to Manhattan alone and fires off a Dear John letter, he's heartbroken.
Rushing to Manhattan, he discovers Linda in the throes of a hot romance with a French restaurateur, Anton (Tcheky Karyo). Lovesick and stunned, Sam sets up a camera obscura in a derelict building so that he can spy on Linda and Anton in Anton's chic loft just across the way. He studies the stars and tells himself that the romance is sure to be soon over and that he wants to be close at hand to reclaim his true love.
This isn't the healthiest of situations, obviously, but it swiftly deteriorates with the arrival of Maggie (Meg Ryan), a tough-talking photographer and Anton's former lover, who's out to bug Anton's apartment while plotting revenge.
Maggie carries wounded pride to such extremes that she clearly needs therapy.
In no time at all, she's maneuvered the wimpy Sam into helping her destroy Anton and Linda's romance, wreck his business and cause him bodily harm. (How Sam and Maggie are able to take off from work to devote their entire lives to this sick endeavor remains a mystery.) All the while Maggie and Sam, into mutual denial, are not surprisingly falling in love.
It is exceedingly difficult to find what's funny in the calculated, obsessive, relentless destruction of Anton, especially when he proves to be the most likable and mature of all four of these people. Maybe "Addicted to Love" might work as a pitch-dark comedy, but in the way Robert Gordon has written it and Griffin Dunne directed it, it gives us the impression that we're supposed to take drastic, irrational revenge as a larky laff riot.
Not all the considerable star power of the four principals can make this material appealing, but at least the director's father, journalist extraordinaire Dominick Dunne, as a restaurant critic, and Maureen Stapleton, as Maggie's grandmother, are fun.
Addicted to Love, 1997. R, for sexual content. A Warner Bros. presentation of an Outlaw Production in association with Miramax Films. Director Griffin Dunne. Producers Jeffrey Silver and Bobby Newmyer. Executive producers Bob Weinstein & Harvey Weinstein. Screenplay by Robert Gordon. Cinematographer Andrew Dunn. Editor Elizabeth Kling. Costumes Renee Ehrlich Kalfus. Music Rachel Portman. Production designer Robin Standefer. Art director Stephen Alesch. Set decorator Alyssa Winter. Running time: 1 hour, 40 minutes. Meg Ryan as Maggie. Matthew Broderick as Sam. Kelly Preston as Linda. Tcheky Karyo as Anton.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times