4.0, United States/Canada


2007 / Justin Theroux > It’s easy to say that quirky indie-romances are all the rage these days, and it’s even easier for Dedication to be slapped with that same label. But what I found amazing is that underneath it all, this is a re-modeled formulaic romantic dramedy with better music (by Au Revoir Simone and the surprisingly soothing Deerhoof), better acting and a better story. It isn’t perfect, and it isn’t going to end up on any all-time lists, but what the film does is put a refreshing coat on an otherwise conventional plot and charms us from end to end. It’s an admirable directorial debut by Theroux, backed by a superb performance by Billy Crudup as the misanthropic lead who’s trying to figure out how to get along with substitute illustrator Mandy Moore after his long-time collaborator, played aptly as always by Tom Wilkinson, passes away. The star, though, may be the script by David Bromberg, with its tight, sharp dialogue and memorable banter.