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What it takes to warm up to sociopathic leads
By TOM MEEK  |  September 19, 2007
2.0 2.0 Stars

VIDEO: Watch the trailer for Dedication.

It’s pretty hard to warm up to sociopaths, especially if they’re flat-out obnoxious. How about telling little girls that there’s no Santa Claus, or that “beaver” is another word for “wee-wee” — and at a children’s-book signing, of all places? That’s Henry (Billy Crudup), a kid-lit writer chock full of neuroses. His illustrator, Rudy (Tom Wilkinson), is the more intriguing of the two (he gets the inspiration for “Marty the Beaver” by watching ’70s porn), but he dies early on, and Henry’s new collaborator is Mandy Moore’s reserved goth Lucy. Why she endures endless humiliation to become the predictable romantic uppercut Henry didn’t see coming is the film’s weak link. The solid performances (especially by Wilkinson and Bob Balaban as the curmudgeonly publisher) and edgy touches by actor Justin Theroux (making his directorial debut) go far, but it’s all wasted on a Grinch.
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