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Henry Roth: obsessive-compulsive, somewhat misanthropic, a writer of children's books. His illustrator and only friend, Rudy, dies after a fabulously successful collaboration on "Marty, the Beaver." Henry is under contract to produce another Marty book for Christmas sales. His publisher, Arthur Planck, assigns penniless, lovelorn illustrator Lucy Reilly to work with Henry. She's sought by her ex-boyfriend Jeremy, who dumped her two years ago but shows up apologetic, having dedicated his new book to her. She and Henry go to a house on the shore to work. Will love bloom amid the rocks, or is Henry a bump on Lucy's road to Jeremy? Rudy's voice, from the grave, gives Henry counsel. Written by
Calling this a "romantic comedy" could scare off a lot of people who hate the term, and the recent Hollywood films of that genre.
In true indie fashion, this film creates a romantic comedy with jarring bits of editing, amazing music that you'll either love or kinda hate (it's as jarring at times as the editing), and a lead performance that begs you to hate the guy.
But like the best pearls come out of gritty sand that irritate the clam (or oyster?...obviously didn't take marine science in school), and yes, I probably was prompted to write that analogy after 2 key beach scenes in this film....this film's eventual path to being an odd romantic comedy makes it stand out from the pack.
If true love can develop between a woman and a guy who's got seeeeerious issues, then there's hope for anyone. Billy Crudup, like other roles I've seen him tackle, can't act bland to save his life. But that makes for some interesting characters. And in this one he doesn't disappoint.
Mandy Moore is practically a bona fide movie star with this film. Through the film, she seems one step away from being a goth-like illustrator scraping her way through life with her talent, and she certainly isn't ready for love either. But when these 2 do connect, the result is all the sweeter.
The music is pretty incredible...and other performances like Tom Wilkinson's and Bob Balaban's and Dianne Weist's score as well. To think this is actor Justin Theroux's first film shows incredible promise from him. Show me a recent film debut by an established actor-turned-director with as much moxie as this. (Maybe Zach Braff with "GARDEN STATE"...but this out-moxies that one.)
Oh and by the way, I was at the same NYC premiere that the other commentator on here was at. Unlike him, I'm not vying to be the next writer who has to be creatively bitchy in his prose. I'm here to say that though this film might not work for everyone, it'll work for the majority of people who seek it out.
And since I saw this film as a pearl that comes out of grittiness...I can be creative too and say that for that viewer, this was a pearl before a swine.
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