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maryann johanson, free spinster

Dedication (review)

There’s a reason why we don’t often see the black comedy combined with the romantic comedy: it rarely works. And it doesn’t work here. Billy Crudup (The Good Shepherd) and Mandy Moore (American Dreamz), are as appealing as they always are, which is quite a bit, but here, his messed-up children’s book author — his OCD is the least of his problems, which extend to almost pathological antisocial tendencies — and her goofy, freespirited children’s book illustrator go together about as well as pickles and peanut butter. That’s meant to be funny in a way that’s both black and romantic, but the plot and character machinations required to get them to pair up are so strained that even their charms can’t sustain any watchability. Actor turned first-time director Justin Theroux has a nice eye, though: I’d like to see what he does with a less forced script. (The disc is sans any bonus material.)

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MPAA: rated R for language and some sexual content

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