Picks and Pans Review: Addicted to Love

UPDATED 06/02/1997 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 06/02/1997 at 01:00 AM EDT

Meg Ryan, Matthew Broderick

Meg Ryan is breaking into her ex-boyfriend's Manhattan apartment. Except there's no need to. "The idiot didn't even change the locks," she mumbles as her old key does the trick. Once inside she whips off her red-satin panties and tucks the dainties under a couch cushion, all part of an elaborate (and less than hygienic) scheme to make her former beau's new girlfriend question his fidelity.

There is no wrath like that of a woman scorned, and in Addicted to Love, an oddly appealing, bruised valentine of a movie, Ryan is one mighty wrathful gal. Her former beau (Tcheky Karyo), a self-confident French restaurateur, has dumped her for a schoolteacher (Kelly Preston), and Ryan is feeling used and abused. "I don't want him back," she tells her coconspirator (Broderick), an astronomer who has himself been ditched by Preston. "I want him vaporized." The two dumpees team up to spy on, humiliate and break up Preston and Karyo but—surprise, surprise—soon find themselves falling for each other.

Addicted to Love is a revenge fantasy tricked up as a romantic comedy. The fundamental problem with the movie is that Ryan and Broderick are stalkers—not exactly the hardiest har-har. But if you can jump that hurdle, there is much to appreciate here, beginning with Ryan's hurting, tough-girl performance. She stretches way beyond cute for this role, and it works. Written by first-time screenwriter Robert Gordon and directed by Griffin Dunne, Addicted to Love is like lemonade with only a sprinkle of sugar: too tart for some, perfectly refreshing to others. (Watch for a brittle bit by writer Dominick Dunne, the director's father, who shows up as a bribable restaurant critic.) (R)

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