Combustible Celluloid
 
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With: Meg Ryan, Matthew Broderick, Kelly Preston, Tchéky Karyo, Maureen Stapleton, Nesbitt Blaisdell, Remak Ramsay, Lee Wilkof
Written by: Robert Gordon
Directed by: Griffin Dunne
MPAA Rating: R for sexual content
Running Time: 100
Date: 05/23/1997
IMDB

Addicted to Love (1997)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

A Stalk in the Clouds

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Hollywood always tries to make romantic comedies, and what almost always happens is the typical love triangle where one character is impossible to like and the other two get together. Usually, this third character is conceited, drippy, has nasal problems, bad hair, lives with his mother, or anything stupid and one-dimensional so that even the dimmest audience member knows who to root for.

Addicted to Love, the new comedy written by Robert Gordon and directed by Griffin Dunne, cleverly sidesteps all that. Matthew Broderick, one of America's leading romantic comedy leads, plays Sam, who gets dumped by Linda (Kelly Preston). Meg Ryan, America's leading romantic comedy lead, gets dumped by Anton (Tcheky Karyo). Together, Maggie and Sam spy on the new couple and try to break them up in vicious and creative ways. The interesting part is that Anton and Linda are a nice couple, and you kind of feel sorry for them.

The famous screenwriter Ben Hecht figured out that people are more interested in bad guys when he first came to Hollywood. Addicted to Love knows the same thing. Maggie and Sam are nasty. They're mean. They eat bad food. Sam never shaves. They live in an abandoned building across the street from Anton and Linda with rats and cockroaches. They're a lot of fun. Eventually, Sam decides to get a job in Anton's restaurant, both in order to destroy him and to get to know who this guy is who stole his Linda. It turns out Anton isn't a bad guy. He has a terrific speech about how France is Krypton and America is Earth and he is like Superman. And he really, really loves Linda.

Sure, we still know who's going to end up with who, but the whole point of romantic comedies is How, and Addicted to Love is one of the most interesting and funny of the genre to come along in quite some time.

Director Griffin Dunne used to be an actor (most famous for Martin Scorsese's After Hours) who slowly turned producer and finally turned director. He has an interesting hand. There are a few visual flourishes here and there. His best touches are the camera obscura that Sam uses to project Linda's image on the back wall of his room, and Maggie's hate collage she pastes up over the course of the film. And kudos to Gordon for creating four interesting characters that are fun to watch.

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