Dedication, the directorial debut from Justin Theroux, is a weird little movie.
Dedication, the directorial debut from Justin Theroux, is a weird little movie. And while that's not necessarily a bad thing, Dedication gets a little too lost in its own weirdness, ultimately overwhelming what could be a sweet, unlikely love story.
At the heart of Dedication is Henry Roth (Billy Crudup), a basket case of a children's book writer who occasionally has to put heavy objects (encyclopedias or other large books, preferably) on top of himself to feel safe. The one person in the world who can tolerate his antics is his illustration partner, Rudy Holt (Tom Wilkinson), whose particular brand of tough love seems to calm Henry down. The two are working on a tough deadline for a children's book based on their character of Marty the Beaver (dreamed up, amusingly enough, in a porno theater) when Rudy dies suddenly of a brain tumor. That leaves Henry without an illustrator, not to mention without an anchor to the regular, non-neurotic world.
Enter Lucy (Mandy Moore), an illustrator plucked by editor Arthur Planck (Bob Balaban) to work with Henry. Henry spends most of his time trying to figure out just how insulting and nasty he can be to Lucy before she gives up and leaves him alone; considering she's been offered $200,000 if she gets Henry to finish the book (unbeknownst to him, of course), it will take a lot more than insults to get her to leave. It's a perfectly solid plot, but Theroux doesn't control the movie's tone enough to execute it well. To see what I mean, read more