The plan: Take a plot that screams direct-to-video erotic thriller, cast it with wholesomely appealing, mainstream stars Meg Ryan and Matthew Broderick and play it for dark comedy. Does it work? Not entirely, but you have to admire its nerve. Small-town
astronomer Sam (Broderick) adores childhood sweetheart Linda (Kelly Preston), who longs for a taste of the wider world. She goes off to New York and takes up with Anton (Tcheky Karyo), an ambitious French restaurateur with a fabulous SoHo loft. So Sam, his world shattered, moves into the abandoned
building across the street and spies on the happy couple, hoping they'll break up. Enter Maggie (Ryan), a punk-waif photographer scorned: She's Anton's ex, and nothing less than the utter destruction of his new life will make her happy. You have to mention that director Griffin Dunne starred in
AFTER HOURS, a black comedy about modern romance set in SoHo, because its tone is so exactly, painfully, hilariously on the money. Would that the same were true here: This movie is just a little soft, just a little shy of twisting the knife that extra twist, not quite bitter enough to make
you laugh nervously at the insane depths to which Sam and Maggie descend in the name of what they think is love. Ryan gives her all to the vindictive Maggie, a daring departure from her all-American sweetheart persona, but never makes her quite scary enough: Sam's a bewildered casualty of love,
but Maggie has been quite literally driven mad by it. Preston is utterly colorless as Linda, and Karyo -- who actually has the most fully developed role in the film -- can't quite fill the hole Preston leaves in the delicately calibrated four-way balancing act.
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