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'Addicted to Love' touchy-feely, yet dark

both May 24, 1997
Web posted at: 12:39 a.m. EDT (0439 GMT)

From Reviewer Carol Buckland

(CNN) -- "Addicted to Love" is an entertaining but disappointingly uneven romance starring Meg Ryan and Matthew Broderick.

Broderick plays Sam, a small town astronomy whiz whose long-time sweetheart Linda (Kelly Preston) dumps him for a suave French restaurateur named Anton (Tcheky Karyo) while she's in New York on a teaching fellowship.

After receiving a "Dear John" letter, Sam races off to the Big Apple and sets up a surveillance operation in an abandoned building across from Linda and Anton's chic SoHo love nest.

Addicted to Love - Full movie trailer
movie icon (4.5M/124 sec. QuickTime movie)
Addicted to Love - Partial movie trailer
movie icon (1.7M/47 sec. QuickTime movie)

He no sooner focuses his camera obscura -- an arcane projection device that provides the movie with some clever visual moments -- than his squalid home-away-from-home is invaded by a grungy gal in a crash helmet. She's Anton's jilted fiancee Maggie (Meg Ryan).

After lots of bantering and bickering, Maggie and Sam join forces. Sam's goal is to get Linda back. Maggie's is to destroy Anton.


Falling in love

These co-conspirators do not take the direct approach. Rather, Robert Gordon's script puts them credulity-straining paces involving a break-in, a lipstick-wearing monkey, stolen credit cards and an encounter with cockroaches. Meanwhile, they tumble into bed and into love.

Naturally, they don't admit to their feelings until it is almost too late.

The main problem with this movie is that it wavers between touchy-feely sweetness and dark-hearted nastiness. Its indecisiveness of tone ends up undermining and unraveling the production.

Broderick is key to the touchy-feely quotient. Although he seems to be maturing as an actor and serves up some deftly funny reactions, he still relies on a lot of cute-as-a-puppy mannerisms.

Ryan in wrong role


Then there's Ryan. Her essentially sunshiney persona is at war with Maggie's vicious desire for revenge. She's not bad, but she's the wrong actress to play a borderline psycho.

The film's most complete performance comes from Tcheky Karyo. He transforms Anton from a Gallic cad into a very appealing human being. He also exhibits a flair for physical comedy.

Kelly Preston makes a lovely Linda. But looks aside, she contributes little in terms of depth or emotion. Whether another actress could have done better is a question mark. The script doesn't offer much in the way of character delineation.

As his excellent short "Duke of Groove" illustrated, Griffin Dunne has real potential as a director. He also has a lot to learn. Screwball comedy requires a special knack in terms of timing, setups and payoffs. Dunne hasn't mastered it yet. He also seems to be reining in his "downtown" sensibilities. The hokey romanticism blunts this film's natural edge.

If you want to go to the movies this weekend and refuse to take the dinosaur route, "Addicted to Love" is an OK choice. It's one of the few "date" pictures around, and it has some genuinely funny moments. But all in all, this is not the kind of flick that will hook you for very long.

This film runs 97 minutes. It is rated R. That's for strong language and sexual situations (including some fairly explicit sound effects and male semi-nudity).


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