Addicted to Love (1997)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Addicted to Love</strong> (1997)

(On TV, December 2015)  I heard about Addicted to Love long before it showed up on my noteworthy-films-of-1997-that-I’d-missed list.  This is, after all, the one where America’s-Sweetheart Meg Ryan ends up playing a short-haired psycho stalker with a fondness for riding motorcycles and making a reference to “a blast of semen”.  This is the one where Matthew Broderick turns out to be an equally-obsessed psycho stalker who can’t let an ex-girlfriend go and instead lives into an abandoned building next to her apartment to keep a constant eye on her.  This is the film where their characters team up to destroy the life of two rather nice people in the hope that they’ll either suffer or crawl back to them.  (I’m sure there’s a fantastic essay somewhere on the web that explains this film’s ludicrousness in excruciating details.)  Romantic comedy?  So it claims.  The bigger problem, though, is that Addicted to Love shows signs that if could have been much edgier, but deliberately holds back.  Did Ryan and/or Broderick impose limits on how dark their characters could be?  Did the script fall into the hands of a director unwilling or unable to follow the story where it need to go?  Did the screenwriter lose his nerve?  I’m not sure and while the result on-screen plays considerably better than what you’d expect from the above summary, there’s a sense that it doesn’t go as deep as it needs to.  Still, what we get is interesting enough: There’s some inventiveness to the light/voyeurism motif (the protagonist is an astronomer and one of the film’s big gadgets is a camera obscura), some of the scenes are crazy enough to be funny, Tcheky Karyo is good as the nominal antagonist of the piece (yet a more mature character than everyone else) and the film predictably wraps up with a big happy romantic bow.  Addicted to Love is not too bad, but it’s not quite what it could have been.  For a 1997 film, though, it doe still have some interest, especially considering how it plays off Meg Ryan’s once-unassailable persona as a romantic ingénue.

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