Available at Amazon.com
The Weinstein Company / 2007 / 95 Minutes. Rated R for language and some sexual content.
Street Date: February12, 2008
List Price: $19.95
Directed By: Justin Theroux
Written by: David Bromberg
Billy Crudup……….Henry Roth
Mandy Moore……….Lucy Reilly
Tom Wilkinson……….Rudy Holt
Bob Balaban……….Arthur Planck
Peter Bogdanovich……….Roger Spade
Justin Theroux is a great actor who has shined in many supporting role. Even when appear in rubbish like Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle he manages to be entertaining. If you’re having trouble putting a face to the name he was also the director in Mulholland Dr., one of Christian Bale’s friends in American Psycho, Jesus in The Ten and Michael Showwalter’s adversary for Michelle Williams affections in The Baxter. If you still don’t know who I’m talking about don’t rent this film to try and figure it out cause you won’t find him in it. This time around Mr. Theroux is trying out his talents behind the camera as the films director.
Our stars here are Billy Crudup who’s last big role was in Tim Burton’s Big Fish and Mandy Moore who, well, you know who she is. Both these actors turn in fantastic performances here and really save what could have been an otherwise bland run of the mill romantic comedy. In fact, all the performances in this film a thoroughly entertaining; Bob Balaban, Dianne Wist, Martin Freeman, and especially Tom Wilkinson, they are all great. Mandy Moore is a fantastic actress who makes many poor choices. If she made more films like this or Saved and stayed away from trash like License To Wed, she might eventually be taken seriously as the talented woman that she is.
Our film opens in a porn theater. Henry Roth (Crupud) and Rudy Holt (Wilkinson) are watching smut for inspiration. And they find it in a particularly graphic close up, as known by their reactions to it. They run home and churn out the children’s book, Marty the Beaver with Henry writing and Rudy illustrating. Marty sells huge and the publisher wants more. However when Rudy dies (don’t worry not a huge spoiler, it’s on the back of the box) Henry is forced to work with a new illustrator, enter Lucy Reilly (Moore).
From here the clichés of the romantic comedy by to swing hard and heavy. They run into each other, literally, passing in the hallway. He makes some snide comment about her work and they are off to a rocky start. See Henry has serious social issues; hell he’s got a whole subscription. He lays on the ground with books on his chest cause it makes him feel safe. He’s scared to drive, hate’s people and really hates kids. So Lucy has her work cut out for her to put up with his crap and get the book done. They get past his issues, they become friends, yadda yadda yadda the get together, they break up over a misunderstanding and well you’ve seen a romantic comedy.
You’ve also got the “other guy” played by Freeman, the ex-boyfriend trying to win her back, and you’ve got the overbearing mother (Wiest)/landlord always threatening to evict Lucy. So she’s got the financial motivation to put up with Henry’s crap.
Like I said, nothing too new or interesting in the romantic comedy department. However it is the well-written script by first timer, David Bromberg, and really makes the film stand out. Henry is a coarse unlikable guy that at first you just feel sorry for but can’t help ultimately liking. I guess that’s what makes it believable that Lucy could like him, despite his problems.
Theroux also provides some pretty good directing, proving his competent behind the camera as well as in front of it. Theroux plays a lot with camera movement and editing to get the viewer inside Henry’s head and also doe well with passing time and giving information at the same time. There is one particularly great moment after the book has been published where Henry is laying on his couch watching TV. The studio is a mess and the TV is a tiny thing, we cross fade to same shot, everything is exactly the same except the crappy TV has been replaced by a giant skinny flat screen TV (presumably, Hi-Def) Instead of being hung on the wall like any one else would do, the TV is leaning against the wall where the old crappy TV used to be. This one simple fade is not only funny but it says tons about Henry’s character.
This is a romantic comedy for people who don’t like romantic comedies. It is rather coarse with its language, especially Henry who cusses a lot and tells a little girl where he got the inspiration for Marty the Beaver. Some might be offended by the crass profanity, but if that kind of thing doesn’t bother you then you are sure to enjoy these fine performances and reasonably decent story.
This film is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. Sound is in Dolby Digital 5.1. Spanish and English subtitles available.
Sadly, this disc has nothing to offer. At the very least an interview with Justin Theroux talking about how he came to direct the film would have been interesting.
|The DVD Lounge’s Ratings for Dedication
(NOT AN AVERAGE)
The Inside Pulse
The only other fault I can kind with the film is the soundtrack. The film suffers from being bogged done by a “hip” indie soundtrack that more often than not distracts from what’s happening on the screen. Some of the songs work, but some of them will just annoy you. Other than that, this is a fine flick and very enjoyable. I highly recommend renting it and trying something a little different.