Dedication (2007) Poster


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Dedication is complex and rewarding.
doloresklein126 September 2007
Response to Boston Globe review (9/21/07) It took dedication and perseverance to see the Sundance Festival (not mentioned) film "Dedication" after reading your negative review. Having overcome the barriers created by your dissection of characters and plot I was surprised to find the film both rewarding and enjoyable despite Mandy Moore's hair color. The cinematography was fresh as was the use of music. The characters had emotional dimensions of complexity and interest in contrast to the flat facades too often presented in today's films. Henry's deep neuroses were believably quirky and contributed to the intrigue of an unpredictable character. His intense dialog with his dead friend and partner gave vent to his inner confusion and added a charmingly bizarre facet of interest to the film. I regret that you did not recognize the film's attributes.
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Great Flick, artsy, funny, good story, it has it all....
uteaholicslc25 January 2007
I just saw this at Sundance and it's probably the best Sundance I've ever seen. The Director Justin Theroux was at the showing and answered some questions and he said some interesting things. First the whole movie was done on a 1M dollar budget and they shot it in 23 days.

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.
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A pearl of an indie comedy
imdbob-216 August 2007
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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My opinion
m-dolphinboy2 February 2007
I don't understand AT ALL why this movie would receive ANY negative comments! This film was one of my top favorites of the Sundance Film Festival this year! And the soundtrack/score that the filmmaker worked to create with the band Deerhoof is brilliant! The character of Henry was played beautifully by Billy Crudup - this was a idiosyncratic guy with severe OCD issues compounded with who knows what other neuroses that I totally related to. And although I did like Mandy Moore in Saved I was still a little skeptical about her being in the movie, but she took me by surprise again and is slowly forcing me to appreciate her as an actress. Dianne Wiest was great as the mother of the character Lucy that MM plays - I couldn't imagine the role being played by Mia Farrow (who was originally cast).

Yes! Very impressive Mr. Thoreux! I look forward to your future films!
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Truly a delight. Billy is Oscar worthy.
movieoooo24 January 2007
This is a great great movie.

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.
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A Fantastic Debut
pankaj-kalwani-129 March 2008
I just finished watching this movie and thought I should pen down my thoughts. I would like to add a few disclaimers before recommending it.

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.
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One of the more endearing films around
politically_incorrect20412 February 2008
I just watched this film and have to say it is one of the most endearing films I've seen in a long time. Think of it as "Mozart and the Whale" but more painful and more true life problems and neuroses, but also more heartwarming. Billy Crudup does a great job as the self-hating and world-hating pessimist in this movie. His wonderful portrayal of such an awful, yet complicated character, makes it all the more enjoyable to see him come around and finally warm up to someone. I've seen Mandy Moore in films before and thought shes always been a better actress then people give her credit for, and this film goes to show that. This is Justin Thoreaux's directorial debut and a wonderful one at that. The writing is superb and the directing and acting only lend to the wonderful script. Tom Wilkinson gives another wonderful performance as he always does. If you want to see a film that'll make you laugh despite hating the characters at times, but some how still miraculously fall in love with them and root for them, then this is definitely the movie for you. It isn't your usual romantic comedy, and putting it that genre is a stretch in itself, but it is one of the smartest and most warm hearted movies you'll see this year.
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Unlikely romance story with some edge, features breakout role for Mandy Moore
sundevil2724 January 2007
Saw this at the premiere showing at Sundance, where it played well for the crowd and apparently Harvery Weinstein liked it so much he bought it. I really didn't know what to expect from this movie as it featured a actor turned first time director and an unlikely pairing of serious actor Crudup and former pop star Mandy Moore. The movie feels part Garden State, with a similar tale of depressed-anxiety ridden guy meeting girl and romance. However Crudups character Henry who is a children's book author is far from being the lovable depressed dope, he's edgy and seriously troubled from what is hinted at as an abusive childhood. Henry's only friend is Rusty his collaborator and book illustrator played by the always reliable Tom Wilkinson, Rusty knows that Henry is on a path of self destruction an forewarns him that he may not always be around to help keep him sane. Rusty becomes ill and thus enters Lucy, the new illustrator, the transition as you would expect is not an easy on for Henry and he makes a mess of what is obviously a blessing in disguise. With Lucys persistence and willingness the two work on the book and romance is kindled however an old flame of Lucys proves a problem as does Henrys demons.

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.
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A Single Skip for Joy
ed_metal_head12 April 2008
Gifted character actor, Justin Theroux, makes his directorial debut with the indie romantic comedy "Dedication". The film tells the story of a neurotic children's book author Henry Roth (Billy Crudrup) who is forced to work with a female illustrator (Mandy Moore) instead of his usual collaborator (Tom Wilkinson).

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.
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Beautiful film
bellejour23 August 2007
This is a wonderful film with characters that touch the hearts of anyone who has ever known or been close to someone with a severe depression, anxiety disorder or real neurosis. Although Dedication can be considered a romantic comedy genre film, and may follow a somewhat conventional type of narrative, the actors breathe life into this story that in itself is a love letter to New York. NYC is a character in itself in the film, which is not to be overlooked. I loved this movie and think it is an amazing effort for Mr. Theroux. I am excited to see what his next project will be, considering this was a script he obviously acquired somehow, and didn't pen himself.

"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
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It takes some dedication to stick with this story but, ultimately, the movie is rewarding
inkblot1125 April 2013
Henry (Billy Crudup) is an odd bird and then some. Admittedly, having OCD is a handicap to anyone but H is also insulting, crude, and hard. It is indeed a great stroke of luck that he is a talented writer, which was recognized by his only pal, Rudy (Tom Wilkinson). An artist, Rudy worked, undeterred, in forming a collaboration with Henry on a hit series of children's books about a beaver named Martin. At book signings, though, Rudy has to keep a close watch on H, for he often ends up insulting those eager to buy his work, even kids. Sadly, just as the two friends are working on a Christmas book, Rudy develops a brain tumor and dies. Now, their editor is in dire straits. He must finish this book, to save his own neck and that of Henry, too. So, without much choice, this editor finds another illustrator, Lucy (Mandy Moore) who is talented enough to continue the look of Martin's character. But, horrors! With Henry a problem child, who discourages Lucy at their initial meetings, how will there be any hope of a finished book? Lucy is offered even more money to endure Henry's whims, money she desperately needs. Also, there are two other problems. One, an old flame of Lucy's, Jeremy (Martin Freeman) returns to try to win her back, making Henry jealous, yes, jealous! Also, Henry keeps talking and consulting Rudy every day, in his mind. When will he let go? This, obviously, is a complicated film with honorable themes. Henry's distinct personality disorders are to be pitied yet his prickly and seemingly uncaring attitude make it difficult for others to like him. Lucy is no different. As the two main characters, Crudup and Moore do wonderful work indeed. Wilkinson shines as well; in fact, I don't believe this gentleman could give a bad performance ever. All of the supporting crew, including Diane Wiest, are fine, also. As for the Manhattan sets, they are always welcome while costumes, photography, script and direction have their strong points, too. In fact, the story is a great look into the reality of life in Henry's world. Therefore, those seeking a glimpse into the affliction of OCD would benefit from a view. But, in addition, fans of romantic comedy and/or drama, even in the most offbeat of circumstances, will likewise be glad they brought this one home.
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Worth watching - not just any rom-com
sophie-942-5340735 January 2011
This movie was a very pleasant surprise for me. I caught it on SKY movies thinking of it as a simple midweek filler for the eve with the tap tap of the computer as I watch. However I was captivated by the acting, the story, the editing and cinematography and put my computer to use once watched to make the effort to write this review.

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!
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Very disappointing
bzimmer-126 January 2007
I too saw this film at Sundance and was very disappointed. The film started out with great promise as an edgy, quirky film- especially Billy's Crudup's character- and then turned into any other romantic comedy that we've seen before. It was incredibly predictable, and I was very surprised that it took this turn.

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.
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Nice story, great characters, well played, good movie in overall
jorisbrand1 February 2008
Right now I would love to give the movie an 8 or 9 but compared to the IMDb database, I'll look at it at a more neutral way: Storyline: 6/10 Characters 8/10 Filming 7/10, Editing 8, overall 7 or 7.5

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
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Great romantic comedy, now one of my favorites
fandomfatale8 August 2020
I just saw this movie for the first time and absolutely loved it. It's a shame it didn't get more attention - I was surprised I hadn't heard of it given so many big names in the cast. I was excited by the premise but a little wary - sometimes indie films have subversions I don't enjoy, but there's nothing particularly unconventional about this film - it's a traditional rom com in every way, just much better than most of them. It might be labelled a dramedy, but I don't think it could ever fairly be called a drama, it remains lighthearted throughout. There are serious scenes with emotional weight but it's never heavy.

It has been a while since I enjoyed a new movie so much. It's a real treasure and I definitely recommend it.
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An Uncaring Protagonist, a Choppy Script and Indie Film Flourishes Can't Mask a Weak Love Story
EUyeshima1 March 2008
Like the central protagonist, this 2007 movie is a misbegotten mess. Making his directorial debut, actor Justin Theroux gets carried away with every film school trick in the book with self-conscious camera-work, annoying jump cuts and a music soundtrack that apparently has to comment on every scene. With a strangely cryptic first-time screenplay by David Bromberg, the movie boasts an impressive cast that includes Tom Wilkinson and Dianne Wiest, but it asks us to empathize with an obsessive-compulsive misanthrope whose actions alienate everyone around him. The ploy is too challenging since the character is more cruel than unfiltered, and his relentless bitterness rarely crackles with the wit necessary to get away with such boorish behavior. Moreover, subsequent attempts to humanize him feel increasingly contrived as the story progresses.

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.
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maniuis26 September 2021
The movie is simply brilliant in every aspect: acting, dialogue, story-arch, cinematography, music, just everything. Watch it and judge by yourself.
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... gotta go a different direction... (sometimes)
bjarias19 April 2015
Of all the Mandy Moore films that you can search out for viewing.. this one probably comes closest to being a non-comedy. Yes it does have the label as a rom-com-drama.. but it's really more the latter, with the weird characters and storyline giving it the drama connotation. And to her credit she comes off pretty well in the role. It's not a completely dramatic role by any stretch of the imagination, but it gives a good sense of what she might be capable of, if she would get the opportunity. And while it's true she still has many years of acting before her, seeing as she's just past 30 years old.. she has spend half her life so far involved in roles that no one will care about anytime into the future. Maybe it will never happen.. but I get that funny feeling if it would, we'll be pleasantly surprised, and have much more of a reason to follow her future career.
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I don't understand how any thinking person could like this movie.
andsomeoddd15 August 2007
This movie is barely watchable. I had the displeasure of seeing "Just My Luck" the day before I saw "Dedication", and I am saddened to say the former was more entertaining. I had the misfortune of attending the New York Premiere of this train wreck. I wrote a scathing blog about the experience on myspace. Here is a fun excerpt:

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.
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Not Worth Your Time / Money
gmano-dark2 February 2008
This movie stinks. If you think it's one of those indie films that might end up good like Juno, well that's wrong. Ratings were way overstated on IMDb. The movie was too long for being that horrible. The main character wasn't great at acting, maybe should've stayed in the office UK or whatever he's from. The story was incomplete, no real background of the two people besides their 2 minute long ramble about their "life" and other "bulls". It did have a potential start, for the first 4 minutes, then that's when it starts going downhill for the rest of the hr and 20 minutes. If it wasn't for Mandy Moore, people wouldn't even tune into this movie. But she does look good in this movie with her brunette hair.

As a final word, I would not recommend seeing this movie. Stay away from even renting it.
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weak story makes it barely watchable
cwang224 January 2009
I know people will probably throw rocks at me but I definitely didn't like this movie. I know it was intended to be like an "indie flick" or dramatic comedy but I think this movie is a mess. It's not fun, nor inspiring, nor real. The point is, this movie was so boring from beginning to the end, I actually saw myself fast-fowarding plenty of times. Only good part of the movie was the acting of Tom Wilkinson. thumbs down to this one, if you're expecting to see a good romantic comedy, stay away of this one and look for "about a boy", "definetely, maybe", if you're looking for an indie movie, try "Garden State", "Juno". This one is simply gonna set you in a bad mood. Amazing how overrated this got at IMDb.
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ajs-101 January 2011
I can't say I knew anything about this movie before it came up on TV this week. With only a very brief description to go on, it looked kind of interesting, so I thought I'd give it a go. It's one of those that's almost there, but not quite, like it just needed a little bit extra to make it a great movie. But more of my thoughts later, here's a very brief summary first (summary haters please comb the beach for that pebble that Henry threw away).

Henry Roth and his partner, Rudy Holt hit the jackpot when they write a children's book about a character called Marty the Beaver. Henry wrote the words and Rudy did the illustrations. Unfortunately, Rudy is taken ill and dies just before their publisher, Arthur Planck, gives Henry the deadline for the next book. A replacement artist, Lucy Reilly, is found, but it is going to be a struggle working with Henry. She is heartbroken after her boyfriend left her and Henry, apart from grieving for his friend, has many quirks that make his awkward to be around, let alone work with. Lucy's ex-boyfriend, Jeremy, appears on the scene, again, just to spice things up a little. Having discovered the penalties for not fulfilling his contract and after Lucy is offered a substantial bonus; the pair decides to work together. Moving out to Arthur's beach house to get away from the distractions of city life, they begin to be drawn together. You know something's about to go wrong with this budding romance, but I'm not going to tell you what it is here.

This is a very quirky film with a very quirky soundtrack, some of which is by the band Deerhoof. It's pretty well made, but you can tell they had a limited budget to work with. Decent performances all round, so honourable mentions go to; Billy Crudup as Henry Roth, Tom Wilkinson was excellent as Rudy Holt, Mandy Moore as Lucy Reilly, Bob Balaban as Arthur Planck, Martin Freeman as Jeremy and Dianne Wiest as Carol (Lucy's mother).

Although the tale it tell is quite endearing, I found it hard to empathise with any of the characters. I also found the attraction between Henry and Lucy a little far fetched (although stranger things have been known to happen in real life). Over all, it's worth a viewing for Tom Wilkinson, but I didn't find a lot else in it for me.

My score: 5.7/10
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When something is weird...
jpschapira10 November 2009
Independent American Cinema. I always end up writing introductory paragraphs for this complex term. I think I know how it goes, and a lot of people do. The thing is, that when you encounter a film like "Dedication", you find yourself decomposing the terminology again. Of course it's not a necessary thing to do, but it's interesting. Justin Theroux directed the film, his first and only one still. Judging from his background we can say that he understands and respects independent productions, therefore I don't think his film is in any sense a mockery or a reinvention of the notion. I remember the introduction of Tamara Jenkins' "The Savages"; it was a joke, but a sort of internal one...Her film was proudly independent.

Well, "Dedication" is also proud of being independent. It's obviously done with a low budget, it's filmed in real locations, it contains screwed up characters, a lot of intelligent (or apparently intelligent) lines, music and soundtrack that comes from nowhere and a generally depressive mood that tends to define a big part of these productions. But, above all, and this is not something we see in every indie picture, "Dedication" is weird. I don't precisely mean this in a general way.

You see, firstly, it's a romantic comedy. Neither clearly romantic, nor instantly funny, it encounters two characters in desperate situations. Writer Henry Roth (Billy Crudup) has just lost his best friend and illustrator Rudy (a pleasant Tom Wilkinson) and is forced, because of legal issues, to finish his next children's book along Lucy Reilly (Mandy Moore), a young girl who landed a drawing job. Besides the unclear presence or existence of the company he works for and the strange nature of his boss (Bob Balaban), Henry is a man with a lot of complexes. In a vibrant scene (one of the few in a slow movie), he tells Lucy all of his virtues and defects, or something like it. Billy Crudup portrays the character... Weird. Later on, Lucy encounters her mother (Dianne Wiest), a manic individual with changing personality, and after they discuss their life situation and, when a bit later, we see Henry talking to his dead friend, we understand both characters have serious issues.

But this is not the kind of story in which two souls with no way to go in life find each other and fall in love. Screenwriter David Bromberg and first time director Theroux know better. The characters have met in peculiar circumstances and those circumstances will remain. The 'get to know' process between Henry and Lucy is not what we see in a usual romantic comedy, but wait... I'm not trying to say "Dedication" isn't your typical romantic comedy; in fact, I'm not sure if I even consider it a romantic comedy. I think, as I stated before, that the film is weird. However, the problem is that, as if "indie" and "weird" were meant for each other, Theroux's movie is proudly weird.

OK. The good thing about this is that, by being weird, the film is disinterested, and it grows more disinterested by the minute. This ends up in unconnected moments and actions without explanation performed by the characters. They are cold to each other but soon they begin to find love; they meet other characters that make the viewer think of structures of the usual romantic comedy and soon these characters fade away. They don't disappear, but they don't seem to fit entirely in the mood of a film that would have no notion of time if it weren't for a deadline to finish the book. The characters go from one extreme to another and are not completely faithful to their personalities, but somehow it feels right. I don't know if I make myself clear; this is a film you have to watch. On the downside, some shots and resources are too forced and repetitive, some editing effects don't fit and some musical choices are just too much. This last part is a personal opinion about a personal search of a director in his first film, something I always respect.

I believe the film only cares about Henry, but Theroux –an actor- gives too much freedom to a Billy Crudup who delivers a performance that's not entirely convincing. On the other hand, it's to Mandy Moore's credit that we sympathize with her character. Lucy is her weirdest and most ordinary creation (yes, it's weird because it's ordinary), and she makes for the kind of girl a troubled individual would fall for, kind of what occurred with Anna Paquin's role in another indie called "Blue State"; directed by Marshall Lewy, also a first film and with a lot of similarities to "Dedication". Then again, what's wrong here is that the sort of crusade Henry does for love, in the typical romantic comedy fashion, is something he could do for any other girl. The movie presents Lucy as "the one", but the truth is that someone like Henry could find lots of Lucys (not a thousand, we might say, but a few more in the life he's got left).

In this particular aspect (and in the rest of particularities you might find in the movie), I'm not praising "Dedication" for sidestepping –or at least fooling, because that's the game of the movie; it goes completely overboard with the cliché but then does something unexpected that, we can tell, is not thought with the intention of omitting a formula- the clichés of a genre, I'm embracing its general disinterest (I applaud it), which concludes in a weirdness that the movie also embraces. And I'm not even saying it's a good film.
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