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 ADDICTED TO LOVE (1997) 

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CAST
Meg Ryan
Matthew Broderick
Kelly Preston
Tcheky Karyo
Maureen Stapleton
Nesbitt Blaisdell
Remak Ramsey
Lee Wilkof

DIRECTED BY
Griffen Dunne

PURCHASE


DVD




Soundtrack


Time: 101 mins.
Rating: R
Official Web Site
Genre: Romantic Comedy


This is a movie that allows the audience to indulge in a fantasy those of us who aren't clinically insane rarely get to fulfill in real life – revenge on a lover who's truly screwed us over. What keeps it from ever resorting into true ugliness is the innate, sweet personalities of its stars Meg Ryan and Matthew Broderick. This is as cruel as these actors have ever been allowed to be and because we like them so much, their shenanigans to torture their ex-lovers don't seem so bad.

Broderick plays Sam. A sweet, honest, dependable astronomer who's in love with his childhood sweetheart Linda, played by Kelly Preston. She leaves to go to New York for a job opportunity and unwittingly falls in love with someone else. Unable to accept that she's left him, Sam follows her to the Big Apple. In order to be "with" her, he moves into the abandoned building across the street so he can watch her. Being a scientist, he believes that he'll be able to tell if her feelings for her new lover Anton are sincere. With the aid of a camera obscura, he waits, watches and charts her every emotion, looking for a sign the infatuation is fading.

Enter Maggie. She's Anton's ex-girlfriend and is beyond pissed that he left her for Linda. She initially has no use for Sam or his old-fashioned spying methods. Besides, she doesn't want Anton back. She wants to make him pay for wantonly breaking her heart. Much to his dismay, she "moves in" with Sam. With her audio equipment and his camera, they can now hear and see what's going on in the world across the way. Sam truly believes Linda will get tired of Anton and return to him. He's got charts to prove it. He refuses to believe his eyes or Maggie's taunts, until he hears Linda screaming with pleasure during sex. The sounds of her passion push him over the edge...and in league with Maggie. Their plan is to break the couple up and rob Anton of every ounce of dignity he possesses.


"I don't wish him dead. But, should that occur... people die every day, why should he be any different?"

During the day, they play wicked tricks on him – fake underwear and receipts in the apartment, lipstick and perfume on his clothes – in an attempt to make Linda suspicious. At night, they watch the "show" to see what their deviousness brings forth. Their common goal brings them closer and they begin enjoying the time they spend together. It's easy to see why they would be attracted to each other. Neither has encountered the other's type before. Their differences are so great, they almost don't give in to the attraction they feel for the other.

The film ends with everyone in the arms of their true love. Though their mischief is mean-spirited, no one really gets hurt. However, Anton has a month he won't soon forget. He learns not to fool around with a woman's heart. Most of us have a mean streak a mile wide. A woman scorned is usually no laughing matter. Unless she's played by Meg Ryan. She takes a somewhat unlikable creature and makes her funny, spiteful and vulnerable. There aren't many actresses out there who could still be charming while plotting such awful deeds. Of course, many a woman has thought of taking revenge against a lover, so one can't really blame her. Broderick starts out in his typical, good guy role, but is quickly seen enjoying the darker side of his nature. Woman aren't attracted to doormats, which his character discovers once he begins asserting himself.

Together, they make a cute, yet dysfunctional couple. By first encountering the other's less attractive side, they have nowhere to go but up. Their burgeoning romance is made all the more believable because they never thought it would happen. The plot has its weaknesses, especially when it comes to Preston and Karyo's roles, but the chemistry between Broderick and Ryan makes up for it. ADDICTED is certainly not one of their best films, but at least it tries to bring a little originality to the table. One of the better ideas is the use of the camera obscura. It adds a lovely, old-fashioned touch to the film that helps soften the bitterness of the mischief. Because it's not a perfect picture, it forces the viewers attention to where it should be – on Sam and Maggie. If you're a fan of Ryan or Broderick, check this one out. They get to tap into some emotions and behavior unseen in any previous roles, which is a breath of fresh air.


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