If Alfred Hitchcock were a contemporary filmmaker, he might have made this dark but endearing concoction about the obsessiveness caused by affection. Addicted to Love (1997) is a romantic comedy in which the romantic and sensitive moments are outnumbered by moments in which love drives its victims to extreme behavior.
Matthew Broderick and Kelly Preston enjoy an idyllic romantic relationship — until she moves to New York for two months and dumps him for Frenchman Tcheky Karyo. Broderick arrives in the Big Apple to win her back, but instead finds himself in an abandoned building across the street from her, where he (joined later by Meg Ryan, Karyo’s ex) spies on her, planning reconciliation — and revenge. Naturally, Broderick and Ryan develop a relationship of their own which begins to interfere with their schemes.
I think this did poorly at the box office because Ryan’s character is much meaner than normal, and is somewhat off-putting. On the other hand, her desire for revenge is totally understandable and pretty amusing as well. All of the characters are smart and literate; Griffin Dunne’s first feature film as a director boasts cleverness and originality, and avoids lowering itself into the crudities that have become so common in modern cinema.
I was reminded of Hitchcock because of the voyeurism angle. Broderick and Ryan (and us) watching Karyo and Preston reduces the latter couple’s human relationship to the status of naked entertainment, especially as the clues positioned to ruin that relationship are gradually uncovered. The film’s moral point is that it’s much easier to observe and make judgments regarding the lives of others than it is to actively participate in life. Yet things will never be made right (and they can be made right) until truth is told and action is taken. Beneath this movie’s dark and funny facade beats a tender heart. My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆. (9:1).