The jokes and impersonations tip the hand of “Addicted to Love.”
Cracks about “a modern day John Cusack” and Kate Hudson, “Never Been Kissed” and hearing “Helen Hunt’s voice in your head” (“What Women Want.” A stoned Matthew McConaughy impersonation. A character a little too INTO you too quickly?
“Does Aimee own ’27 Dresses?'”
Break it down for us sidekick David — “You’ve got yourself a classic rom-com.”
“Addicted to Love” is a crude, laugh-starved and vulgar C-list copy-and-paste of “How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days,” and proof of the thesis that if you’re going to steal, you might want to aim higher than a movie nobody EVER called a “classic.”
It’s built on that rom-com staple since Shakespeare’s day, two people lying about who they really are meeting and falling for the dishonest version of each other.
Luke — played by Florida wrestler-turned-actor Shane Hartline — is a 30something meme generator at Buzz Story, working with his bros Jackson (Choni Francis), David (Garrett Mendez) and Wendy (Tara Erickson), living by the credo old Uncle Doug (Alex Walters) taught him as a lovesick tween.
“Follow my one rule! ‘Thou shalt NOT fall in love!'”
Uncle Doug’s dead now, just like Michael Douglas’s Uncle Wayne in McConaughey’s “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past.” Also not a classic.
The new flirt at work, Aimee (Cat Alter) hurls herself Luke, beds him, drops the “L” word the morning after, and blurts “I decided we could be good together, like Lucy and Ricky, or Sid & Nancy! Want to meet my MOM?”
That’s Luke’s trigger. He needs an out. What he and his pals come up with is “I’m a sex addict. I’m in recovery.” Funny thing, their boss (Warren Burke) is in “a group.” He understandingly drags Luke into it.
And another funny thing, Kara (Melissa Paulo) is a star writer at SNS Magazine, and her “Sorry Not Sorry” boss (Patricia Viletto) wants a story on dating a sex addict. Kara ends up undercover at that same support group.
I’ve used the phrase “funny thing” here hopefully, but that’s not accurate. The “meetings” are as artificial as their setting — on a high school theater stage (Hey, the lights were already hung, etc.). And the courtship that follows is just as contrived.
There’s a lot of riffing and comical crudity over everybody’s various shades of kink. The performers sound like improv veterans.
“I’m dating an emo. We’re working on penetrating…our FEELINGS.”
Everybody’s got a few go-to impersonations — Jack Black, Obama, Seth Rogen, Larry the Cable Guy. Team Luke gets messed up with an evening of 40 ouncers, “magic drops” and a five-apple bong. That turns them all into animated versions of themselves, Beavis and a lot of Buttheads.
Some players try WAY too hard (Francis co-wrote the script and hits his punchlines so hard he leaves a mark.). Others give us a taste of R-rated sitcom whimsy. David’s new hook-up (Ashley Crystal Hairston) is seduced with the old fake-wedding ring routine. And she’s all in.
“Brittany’s offering BUTT stuff,” David sings — improvising his own autotune as he does. “Buuuuuuuttttt stuff! It’s my ROSEBUD!”
As limp as the laugh lines are, when “Addicted to You” (“Addicted to Love” anyone?) turns sensitive and serious, the eye-rolling only gets worse.
Some of the “let’s fake how hot we are for each other” vamps are laugh out loud funny in a sort of over-the-top acting exercise way. Alter stands out in those moments.
Mostly though, this addiction is too easy to shake, a rom-com that’s content to reference “classic” rom-coms, without making the references funny or for that matter improving on them.
MPAA Rating: unrated, with frank sexual situations, drugs, profanity — mild violence.
Cast: Shane Hartline, Melissa Paulo, Cat Alter, Choni Francis, Ashleigh Crystal Hairston ,Garrett Mendez, Tory Devon Smith, Patricia Villetto
Directed by Mike Cochnar, script by Mike Cochnar, Choni Francis, SteevJBrown. A Leomark release.
Running time: 1:35