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By Zack Haddad | August 26, 2007

I am getting tired of comparing semi-decent films to films that have been out for sometime, particularly sick of bringing up “Garden State.” And yet, here I go again. “Garden State” was new for its time but it seems all the up-and-coming directors were just way too inspired by that film to branch out into something truly unique of their own.

“Dedication” is the story of children’s book writer Henry Roth (Billy Crudup), a man who is obsessive-compulsive (as well as any other type of neurosis he can think of). His long time friend and illustrating partner Rudy Holt (Tom Wilkinson), dies after the success of their new book “Marty the Beaver.” Henry’s publisher wants another book and makes Henry join forces with new artist, Lucy (Mandy Moore), a mixed up girl who is barely scraping by with her crazy landlord (who also happens to be her mother). An odd relationship ensues between Henry and Lucy and subtly, she changes him into a somewhat normal human being.

Justin Theroux directed the film and it seems like he very much wants to make that mainstream-sensible, slightly artsy, indie flick. This is obvious when you have a soundtrack of indie-rockers, stop motion sequences, weird subconscious visions, and a main character so neurotic that he wouldn’t get a girl in real life.

That being said, it is to be noted that the stop motion is interesting. I say this because Henry believes cars are death boxes and doesn’t ride in them. So when we see Henry drive a car for the first time, the music speeds up and we see Henry slowly make his way down the highway in stop motion. I also enjoyed Henry’s subconscious sequences. These are great because Tom Wilkinson plays more of his Rudy Holt character and therein becomes Henry’s guide.

The biggest criticism I have with this film has to be that I am sick of seeing the indecisive douchebag man-boys getting paired up with the artsy, raven-haired woman who has her own problems to deal with. The salvation-cum-quirkiness is just too prevalent in today’s cinema.

This is a decent flick, it is just I have seen this a few times before. So check it out to enjoy the hijinks of this messed up children’s book writer but don’t look that far into it because you will be disappointed.

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