Reviewed by Dan Lybarger
August 20, 1997
Some people react calmly to Dear John letters. Sam (Matthew Broderick), a heartbroken astronomer, doesnít. When his long-time girlfriend (Kelly Preston) dumps him for a slick French restaurateur named Anton (Tcheky Karyo from Bad Boys), Sam moves into an abandoned building and spies on the lovers with the same meticulousness he used to devote to the stars. He not only sets up projected images of their affair on his wall, but he even "charts" her smiles hoping to notice a downturn. Antonís vindictive jilted girlfriend (Meg Ryan) discovers him, and the two of them join forces to get revenge.
Maggie and Samís situation isnít terribly new or even plausible (they inhabit an abandoned building that has electricity and running water), and Addicted to Love simply isnít diverting enough to overcome its weaknesses. Novice feature director Griffin Dunne, whoís best known for playing the beleaguered protagonist in Martin Scorseseís After Hours, has a decent visual style, but his sluggish pacing and overly earnest approach keep the film from taking off. Instead of capitalizing on the absurdity of the situation, Dunne simply lets the film meander to an uneventful conclusion.
Ryan almost salvages the film. Sporting some menacing goggles and an ensemble of grotesque outfits, she has a ball taunting Broderickís naïve Sam. Unfortunately, Maggie softens up and the movie follows suit. Ryan seems to itch for a chance to really cut loose with the character, but she never gets the chance.
To make things worse, she and Broderick have no chemistry. They just donít make a credible screen couple. When the two of them eye each other or say "I love you", itís without any passion or conviction. The only thespian who really shines is Karyo who achieves a remarkable balance between sleaziness and sympathy. Even when heís getting a deserved comeuppance, heís sometimes more entertaining than the leads.
Addicted to Love does offer some snappy lines (thereís an interesting interpretation of a Lassie movie) and a few amusing, if forgettable gags. Still, it offers only a mild buzz when it should have been habit-forming (PG-13). Rating: 4.
This page was last updated on 10/29/97.