Dedication DVD Cover

Intro

            My thoughts on the romantic comedy that serves as the directorial debut for actor Justin Theroux. 

The Story

            In this feature, Henry Roth (Billy Crudup) is a highly successful children’s writer who loses his long time friend and illustrator to cancer. Roth happens to be quite anti social though so this leads to major problems when he is forced to team up with a new illustrator named Lucy (Mandy Moore) by his publisher so that he can get his next project done by deadline.

Lucy isn’t much better off though as she’s struggling to survive month to month and dealing with a mother (Dianne Wiest) who wants her desperately to give up on her dream of being an artist and an ex boyfriend who is trying to weasel his way back into her life. Forced into an uneasy partnership, the two emotionally damaged professionals must make something work or lose everything in the process.

Good and the Bad 

            Starting slowly, this film really provided difficult for me to get into as an audience member. The movie starts very slowly with the introduction of Roth and his friend. Wasting absolutely no time in developing Roth though, the film proceeds to spend the next 30 minutes or so building him up as a complete emotional wreck of a human being who can’t form anything that vaguely resembles a relationship with anyone other than his friend and makes him into one of the most unlikable characters of the film.

When Lucy is introduced in the second act, again, absolutely no time is wasted in setting her up as an equally emotionally damaged individual and thus the two are meant to be together so that they can heal each other’s wounds or something like that.

Moving past the characters that are only vaguely likable, we move into the story of these two being brought together to complete a project despite all the boundaries that have placed up around themselves. I really wanted to get behind this story but the idea of two emotionally damaged people being brought together to complete a project and finding love along the way just strikes me as unoriginal.

The stale performances from some of the cast’s leading actors certainly didn’t help me get into the story. Billy Crudup really had to work hard to sell me on his more emotional scenes, especially early in the film and I didn’t find his later scenes to be much better. The emotional transition between when he feels hostile towards this new intruder into his life and starts to feel a fondness for her later in the film felt forced to me. Besides the time that they spend together working, the film felt like it was missing that scene which explained why Roth was suddenly warming up to his new partner other than he wanted to get paid. It was obvious that Roth was warming up to her but besides occasional lines that hint towards the motivation behind the change, there isn’t really enough there to sell the audience on the relationship. 

            The smallest nitpick that I have to bring up is some very questionable moments in photography which made me scratch my head. Around the late middle of the film when Mandy Moore is walking along the beach, there will be a close up of her hands and the lighting on them is absolutely terrible. It almost feels odd to pick up on such an insignificant flaw in the film when I’ve already made it apparent that I have much bigger complaints but this is just one of the little ones that took me out of my element.

Extras 

            None.

Overall

            Boring and underdeveloped characters made this film a real chore to watch. While the jokes were amusing at first, they very quickly lost their appeal and thus the audience is left with a romantic comedy that has no comedy. This isn’t a film that I would recommend to anyone. 

Final Grade: 68% – D

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