'Dedication': Disarmingly Funny

Maui Time | August 14, 2007
Actor Justin Theroux makes an auspicious directorial debut with a disarmingly funny romantic comedy full of emotional life and witty filmic textures. Henry Roth (Bill Crudup) is a children's book writer whose illustrator and collaborator Rudy (Tom Wilkinson) is about the only person in the world patient enough to tolerate Henry's nervous tics and angry outbursts. Rudy's death forces Henry to attempt working with a publisher-assigned collaborator in the guise of Lucy Riley (Mandy Moore). Once Henry stops insulting Lucy long enough to apologize, he realizes the flame burning between them but battles with his grip on reality -- he's scared of driving and superstitious about everything. Billy Crudup makes us root for his confused character, and Mandy Moore is convincing and funny as the best thing to ever happen to Henry.

Rated R, 93 mins. (B+)

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