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As for the movie, it was a very different movie from the music to the cinematography with a fresh taste to it. The main character Henry Roth played by Billy Crudup was an amazing role. I wouldn't be surprised to hear awards galore for Crudup. Equally as impressive was Mandy Moore, I expected very little out of Moore but she delivered an amazing performance that will surprise many and officially launch her acting career, and establish her as a top talent.
It's a story of mental disorders and people falling in love in unlikely circumstances. At times it can get scary as the writer does an amazing job of keeping you guessing. It's without an amazing movie and I'd recommend it to anybody.
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.
Yes! Very impressive Mr. Thoreux! I look forward to your future films!
Billy Cudrup is so believable as a crazy person. I have never seen a performance like this before.
Mandy Moore is sweet and perfect. Great chemistry between the two.
The script is fresh and funny.
The only con I can think of is that they use a kind of irritating stop action flash movement to indicate the passage of time. Didn't like that and it seemed out of place.
The music is also outstanding. Great choice of songs.
It is a great love-story, but told in a different and beautiful way. A true delight.
When his only constant, long time friend and more optimistically inclined illustrator Rudy Holt (Tom Wilkinson) dies and leaves him alone to deal with himself, Henry is forced to work with a new illustrator, Lucy Reilly (Mandy Moore) because of a contractual obligation. She is the epitome of the "nice girl" Rudy had wished for his undeserving friend, and naturally, Henry wants nothing to do with her.
When scaring her away with his cutting personality succeeds, he finds, thanks to a series of conversations with his dead friend, that despite his resentment of having to work with Lucy, he actually likes her. The question is, can he get over himself enough to make it work? I have to admit, I almost turned the film off towards the beginning when Henry Roth says something completely obscene to a little girl during a book signing, but I gritted my teeth and reminded myself that I'm not supposed to like this character, not yet, because he doesn't even like himself.
The soundtrack and art direction in this film are worth mentioning as is the wonderful performances of the supporting cast, Tom Wilkinson and Dianne West as Lucy's almost bipolar mother. I loved the constant metaphor/parallel of Henry and Lucy's relationship and the book they are trying but failing to write. I also appreciated that Henry never uses the truth about Lucy's fiancé as a means to win her affections. There is also a scene in the diner that deals with child abuse in such a truthful way that I'm gutted every time I watch it.
Dedication has a quiet depth to it that most mainstream Hollywood movies lack. Within the dialogue you will find truth in the tagline, life is what we make it. It's easier to push happiness away in fear that it will reject us, thus living in a constant yet comfortable state of misery. Throughout the movie Henry dismally refers to life in a pessimistically dramatic fashion with lines like, "Life is nothing but the occasional burst of laughter rising above the interminable wail of grief." But towards the end of the film his friend firmly rejects that viewpoint with the greatest line in the film, "No Life is a single leap for joy." Because it is, even if most of us are too scared to leap.
For viewers who expect a romantic comedy, this is not your average rom-com genre movie. And for avid movie buffs, this ain't the first attempt of its kind either. This has shades of Trust (1990), Music and Lyrics (2007), As Good as it Gets (1997) and a few others.
But the familiarity worked for me. Also, not knowing what the movie was about did work for me too.
Watch this if you want a romance with quirky and intelligent characterization. Considering, it is both the writer's and the director's debut feature film, it is fantastic.
Crudup as Henry is quite good, but the character has such a sharp tongue and dark disposition at first that it was hard to not hold resentment against him for much of the film. However as the film goes on and Henry shows more of his likable eccentric quirks your hoping for him to change and that works in the films favor. Mandy Moore brings life to this film that made all the difference to me. As soon as her character Lucy enters the film the whole movie changed for the better. Without her sweet smile and persistent patience with Henry this film wouldn't work in the least. The director Justin Theroux, who you probably know from Charlie's Angels 2 as the Irish gangster, does a great job in his debut and works magic with the soundtrack and adds in some unique visuals along the way to enhance the viewing. All and All audiences should find this movie to be a good indie romance comedy/drama, the type one would expect from the indie world with rough edges and darker subject matter then your typical Hugh Grant -Julia Roberts type stuff.
"I think that hate is a thing, a feeling, that can only exist where there is no understanding." TENNESSEE WILLIAMS, Forward to Sweet Bird of Youth
The highpoint of the film is undoubtedly the acting. Billy Crudrup ("Almost Famous") is fantastic as Henry, displaying all the quirks one would expect from such a character. His performance seemed like a mix of John C. McGinley on "Scrubs" and Timothy Olyphant from "The Girl Next Door". Mandy Moore is also very good, and manages to create a real character instead of a generic love-interest. This is easily her best acting performance to date. Tom Wilkinson shines as Henry's collaborator and only friend, though it must be noted that his performance is somewhat similar to his Oscar nominated performance in "Michael Clayton". Dianne Wiest, Martin Freeman and Bob Balaban are also delightful in smaller supporting roles.
The screenplay, on the other hand, is unfortunately the film's low point. The character's dialogue itself is fine (actually, it is very good). The problem of the script is the rather generic plot which too closely follows the boy-meet-girl blueprint for romantic comedies. The film's ending is something that would be expected more of a Hollywood studio romantic comedy rather than a quirky indie.
First time director Justin Theroux shows real promise here. While it is true that some of the transitions and editing between scenes are a bit too arty and self-conscious, other things, such as camera placement and shot composition are handled with all the skills of an experienced professional.
Annoyances aside, this is an easy film to recommend. Moore and Crudrup are infinitely watchable and Thereoux is good enough to deserve more directorial jobs. In the end, the collective talent in front of and behind the camera elevates the middling plot into a very enjoyable film.
The leading guy was great. Can't remember any big roles from him before, but he really shines in this one. Mandy Moore wasn't too bad either.
The only thing stopping me giving this movie a 9 or a 10 is the fact that I couldn't quite see the relationship with the two main characters growing to the measures I think it was supposed to. I mean if they would have just added and old fashioned scene where they are laughing together and doing different stupid things for about two minutes, it would have been more believable. You know,pillow fights and stuff...
But certainly a positive surprise from a "romantic comedy".
I was hoping for more from Justin Theroux on this one. The cast is good, in particular, Billy Crudup and Tom Wilkinson, but Mandy Moore is not well cast in this role. Had her character been edgier, I think it would have worked better. I don't think Mandy Moore's performance was bad; I think the was her character was written was wrong for the film. Wait for cable on this one folks.
The story line is basis and a little predictable, but what is important about the extra, the touch of the characters what brings this movie. Henry is very well played by Billy Crudup, and Lucy is done well. Character Lucy doesn't have any deep flow even though the movie want to bring that in, but Henry is very well digged out, with the strange things he is doing and happening to him, they give a lot of life to his character.
About the filming really can't tell, but the editing was done with some tight things, little bit like "requiem for a dream", gives a little bit more connexion to the character of henry and the film.
So if you're into a relaxed night, want to have a smile on your face and a good feelin after? whats this movie, Greet jaws
His mentor, best friend, and parent replacement, is Rudy Holt (Tom Wilkinson), who illustrates Henry's books. When Rudy dies, Henry is devastated. He keeps imagining seeing Rudy, thus continuing to let 'Rudy' tell him how to handle Life. Something Henry is not very good at at his own.
He is teamed up by his publisher Planck (Bob Balaban) with a new illustrator, Lucy (Mandy Moore). In the beginning, he treats her like he would anybody else, which means mean, but it becomes very clear that she is a nice person and quickly he begins to like her. But he doesn't know how to break the habit of being strange and sarcastic. (Anybody who's been shy and hurt knows that being rude or weird is a perfect way to stay safe; to keep people away from the core).
Here is what he tells her in one long hilarious monologue which conveyed by the brilliant Billy Crudup comes out exasperated, hesitantly and too fast all at the same time and with a voice that is nearly broken , due to the fact that he has realized that he's told her far too much:
"I hate my mother I hate my goddamn dead father more, Rudy was the only friend I ever had, I had a girlfriend once who I used to like to masturbate to more than have sex with, carrots and snakes frighten me um I'm superstitious about the numbers (3. 5. 7) I can only stir things counter-clockwise and I know that if I don't something bad will happen, I take a size 11 and a half shoe I don't have a favorite book, I don't drive or ride in cars, statistically speaking you have a 100% chance of being in an accident in your lifetime, they're death boxes, I give to Amnesty International on the off chance that I'm ever imprisoned and tortured for my political beliefs, paradoxically I have no political beliefs, um Life is pain, black kids are cuter than white ones, I didn't mean it when I compared you to our waitress I was only trying to hurt you, I could've been meaner about your looks and what I would have said would've made you cry, I have a towel I can't throw out because it may have feelings, when I ejaculate I go into deep depressions, though by any standard you're a nice person I deeply resent having to work with you, I love Japanese monster movies, Gamera specifically.."
Ultimately, it's a love story told in a funny, quirky way and with great performances by Billy Crudup, Tom Wilkinson, not to mention Bob Balaban. Mandy Moore does a good job as well.
Oh, and Life at its best is a love story, isn't it?
I think that she is definitely developing her character from out of a refreshing character. She never chooses bad parts that have gratuitous elements of violence, vulgarity or tasteless sex scenes. The man (Crudup) in this is amazing, and yes very misogynistic and mocking of the women in his life. I found the OCD aspects believable and interesting to watch.
But the chemistry that develops in his life with hers is really amazing and believable as they are cast well together. I do see that the character of Lucy makes sense in her attractions to men like this. I love the way he argues his apologies. The scene where she and he are in a bar and Lucy puts a stop to his sarcasm is point blank perfect. I know someone much like him.
From my point of view the suffering that (Billy Crudup) went through with his abusive mother comes out competently in the screen play. The line about wht life us by the mentor figure Rudy near the end is priceless.
Whatever one thinks of the arts, ex-pop stars throw it all away this movie is worth seeing repeatedly.
This is the director's excellent directorial debut. The dialogue was great it contains some very memorable lines, the chemistry between Mandy Moore and Billy Crudup sticks with you like super glue, the acting is superb (Tom Wilkinson huzzah) and the cinematography is better than awesome. The editing: magnifique.
"Dedication" is a 9 out of ten.
The line wasn't all that bad and we passed by Ms. Moore herself on the red carpet. Having lived in New York and seen my fair share of celebrities I was less than star struck. Still, this had to be better than getting a root canal. Right? Wrong. At one point during this train wreck of a movie I actually longed for the sterile walls of the waiting room and the GQ magazine with Matt Damon on the cover. Sitting through a movie hasn't been this downright painful since, well, "Saved."
So we walk past the red carpet and into the lobby and the whole affair seems to be built upon understatement. It was like being caught in an excitement vacuum. I was actually setting the bar, and that was only after I realized the popcorn and soda were free. Our seats were great too; Mandy Moore and the rest of the cast were just a few rows back. Earlier on I mentioned I was "forced" to sit through this flick. Well my little buddy Jesse, imagine a young Woody Allen, and I had the idea to walk out about half way through. Unfortunately that would have meant walking past the entire cast. I think Jesse wanted to make a statement, but I just didn't have the heart. My reasons for wanting to bail were based on relief of painful boredom, not malice and haughtiness. Instead I went for an extended bathroom break. Mandy didn't even notice. I think she was too busy dying inside. Honestly, the look on her face was a mixture of embarrassment and dread. The irony is Mandy Moore did a pretty good job. Her acting really wasn't bad.
No, the acting was the lesser of the evils. This thing was doomed the day writer David Bromberg sat down at his keyboard and decided he had a good idea for a screenplay. The idea being that some old man, Rudy, and a thirty something, Henry, are trying to write a children's book. They come up with a character named Marty the Beaver, who is in fact a beaver. The idea for Marty struck Rudy, played by the usually engrossing Tom Wilkinson, while he was at an X-rated theatre looking for inspiration. Get it? Beaver? Yes I'm serious. They bring this idea to a publisher and it inexplicably sells. Marty becomes the next Barney although he is rude, crude, and his teeth are falling out of his face.
Justin Theroux gets behind the camera this time, and based on the shots and editing you almost feel like your watching the sequel to Requiem for a Dream and not a romantic comedy. The soundtrack is thumping and would be good if this was an action flick and you actually gave a damn about the characters.
Seriously if you liked this movie, god help you.
The story revolves around Henry Roth, a prickly, phobic children's book author (an intentionally ironic profession for such an uncaring jerk) who bonds only with his longtime collaborator, a curmudgeonly illustrator named Rudy. They finally achieve success with a book about Marty the Beaver's campaign to save Christmas, but then Rudy dies. Henry's poker-faced editor, Arthur Planck, wants a sequel and consequently hires a young artist named Lucy to take Rudy's place. Lucy has her share of problems - a mother who is also her landlord and willing to evict her, and an errant lover named Jeremy who wants her back after dumping her. The movie's title is derived from the dedication to Lucy in Jeremy's about-to-be-published book. Motivated by a large bonus offered by Planck, Lucy is willing to subject herself to Henry's nasty comments, but of course, a romance develops. This is where the film falters badly as the love story is sketchily developed with little discernible chemistry between the two stars.
The cast provides whatever redeeming value the film has. The usually audacious Billy Crudup does what he can as Henry, but it's an uphill battle. Better here than in last year's execrable "Because I Said So", Mandy Moore brings a certain poignancy to her scenes, but her downbeat character is so depressing that the only logical response to their romance is indifference. Wilkinson easily steals his scenes as Rudy both pre- and post-mortem, while Bob Balaban plays Planck in his typically low-key fashion. Wiest plays Lucy's mother in just a couple of tersely acted scenes, while Amy Sedaris, Peter Bogdanovich, Christine Taylor and Bobby Cannavale show up in cameos. The 2008 DVD is bereft of any extras, not even the theatrical trailer, which gives you an indication of what the studio thought of its prospects.
As a final word, I would not recommend seeing this movie. Stay away from even renting it.
It is not just a rom-com although I understand the need for that classification. It's art by it's communication and without the pretense. The simplest of stories that could have easily been made sickly sweet. It incorporated enough reality without being too gritty. The use of cinematography in conveying emotion was refreshing and observant. For me it had dimension that many stories lack.
I was also awed by the fact it was a debut direction by Justin Theroux and I look forward to catching more of his movies in between his acting.
Good Job and thank you!