Addicted to Love

What a strange little film! I’m not even sure what it’s supposed to be. To give you an idea, it’s kind of a cross between “Cape Fear” and “When Harry Met Sally”! Boy, what a mix, eh! Maybe the filmmakers wanted to make a romantic comedy with an edge, but the more the movie advances, the more perverse it becomes, until the usual happy end. Hence, you don’t know how to respond to the movie. When you watch “Cape Fear”, you’re terrified by De Niro: it’s at thriller. When you see “When Harry…”, you get all sweet and you want them to end up together. But “Addicted to Love”?

Sam (Matthew Broderick) and Linda (Kelly Preston) seem to be a happy couple. They’ve known each other since they were kids, and they’re in love. Sam’s an astronomer, nice and unthreatening, who likes his life simple and comfortable. Linda’s a teacher, and she has dreams of her own. She would actually enjoy change, and when she meets someone during a trip to New York, she decides to break up with Sam and move there. But our little space boy ain’t ready to let her go. You could even say that he’s obsessed. He leaves everything behind to follow her to the Big Apple, where he settles in the abandoned loft in front of the apartment of Anton (Tcheky Karyo), the French cook who stole Linda’s heart. And then Sam meets Anton’s ex Maggie (Meg Ryan), and since they both want to break this couple, they decide to work together at stalking and messing with the lives of those they’re supposed to love. And while they’re doing that twisted stuff, they find love again… with each other. How romantic…

Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t see how destroying the life of some innocent French guy with inventive cruelty and breaking the heart of his girl can make two people fall in love. It’s just sick! Sam and Maggie are nothing short of stalkers. De Niro has played this kind of character, but it was obvious that he was the bad guy and that you should be disgusted by his behavior. But this is supposed to be a romantic comedy, so we should feel love between the characters, not resentment. If at least Anton was a jerk and Linda was a bitch, maybe we would find it justified that the “heroes” are so mean towards them, but they’re just nice people in love. Is that a crime?

Besides that, the movie is rather enjoyable. First-time director Griffin Dunne uses plenty of stunning visual tricks, and his movie is always well crafted and dynamic. The music is particularly enjoyable, with everything from Cake’s Nugget to cool French songs like MC Solaar’s Victime de la Mode. So the movie’s fun for the eyes and the ears, but like I said, it’s really not romantic or much involving. It’s sporadically funny, but it’s mostly confusing.

Take Meg Ryan for instance. In most of her movies, she’s hella sweet, hella cute, hella lovable, hella amusing… But in “Addicted Love”, she plays a biker chick with dark eye shadow who spends the whole film being a bitch to her ex. Talk about odd casting. Matthew Broderick is a little more at his place. Even though we first watched him in 80s high school comedies, he has also been convincing in bleaker movies such as the overlooked but delightful black comedy “The Cable Guy” and in the brilliant satire “Election”. But these movies were supposed to be cynical. “Addicted to Love” might have worked as a black comedy with the necessary script and casting modifications, but under the romantic comedy label, it’s just a weird mess. Entertaing, but still a misfire.