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This week marks the monumental occasion of Jason actually getting invited for the first time ever (and probably last) to an official press screening of a movie (he wore a little press hat to it, he swears) which was very exciting for both him and us. This is what he saw (and you can too after this Friday)

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Dedication

Life really is a bunch of little mysteries and surprises that come one after the other, isn’t it? I mean, one minute you could be a teen pop sensation, and the next minute you could be an actress trying to make a name for herself in romantic comedies! I know I would certainly be surprised if that happened to me, seeing as I’ve missed the teen pop sensation window by about 15 years, and, although I am man-pretty, I am certainly not man-pretty enough to star in any romantic comedies anytime soon. Although, Mandy Moore is.

Fresh off of her wondrous turn opposite Robin Williams in License to Wed, Mandy Moore takes a stab at playing the tortured ingénue role in Justin Theroux’s Dedication. As I said when I reviewed the trailer recently, Dedication is essentially what you get when you mix As Good As It Gets with Garden State.
As a misanthropic children’s book writer with OCD who gets his inspiration from 70s porn flicks(hence the name of his hit character, Marty the Beaver*), Billy Crudup does his best rainman/tortured genius impression. Which, unfortunately, borders on parody at times. He hooks up with Ms. Moore because she has to be the new illustrator for the next edition of the Marty the Beaver saga. They hate each other, then fall for each other, yadda yadda yaddaa. I believe I’ve seen this before. It was a movie called EVERY OTHER ROMANCE FILM EVER. Yawn.

Aside from the fair-to-middling acting in the film by the leads, the story falls flat of its potential, and quickly diverts back to standard indie-romantic-drama fare. Things you need in an indie romance film:

1. Pretty, tortured-genius people who dress shabbily** and talk too much about their problems in long winded monologues that people in real life never do, see also: any section of dialogue that begins “I’ve been waiting my whole life…blah blah bleach”

2. A fairly meaningless item of some sort that one character gives to another one, and subsequently discards it, then finds again, thus rekindling the romance.

3. A travel scene with a goofy, yet somehow endearing, helmet.

4. A crazy mother who thinks her son or daughter is gay because they don’t currently have a significant other.

5. shaky-cam!

6. A soundtrack featuring today’s indie-rock-blog-superstars!!! Deerhoof? Check! Cat Power? Check! The Strokes? Check!

And Dedication has all this, and more! Too bad it doesn’t have much originality lurking underneath it’s too-hip soundtrack and shaky camera tricks. If I wanted to see a bad romance movie I could just as easily left a camera on in my bedroom and watched that for two hours. Does anyone else think that watching football in underpants and a bathrobe, touching your balls and eating bacon sandwiches counts as romance? Cause I’m getting all emotional thinking about it right now.

*I really wished that the character would have been a Overly Hairy Bush instead of a beaver, but then again I didn’t write this film.

**Mandy Moore wears a giant hooded winter coat, thick black eyeliner and has hair that looks as if she’s been having sex all day long and could use a good washing. I know, I fell in love with her immediately, too.

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