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Committed

Rated [R], 98 minutes
Starring Heather Graham, Luke Wilson
Written and Directed by Lisa Krueger
website: www.miramax.com

IN SHORT: Talk . . . Talk . . . More Talk . . .

It isn't a good thing to be watching the big screen thinking, "My God Heather Graham is skinny..." because it means that the story that is trying to grab your attention and suck you into it's world, isn't doing its job.

Graham holds the spotlight for almost every second of Committed, as Joline, a club manager who is embarking on her lifelong commitment to love of her life Carl (Luke Wilson). Carl is a newspaper photographer who years for the excitement of shooting breaking news stories, but who is always assigned to take pictures of food. 597 days later, Joline is planning a surprise birthday party for her hubby, four months too soon, because he seems to be in a fog. It's more than a fog. Carl walks out and disappears out West somewhere, sending only a cactus picture postcard as news that he is still thinking of Jo.

To Jo, whose word is her bond, "for better or for worse, 'til death do us part" means exactly that. Doing a careful budget, and renting a car, she sets out to find her stray, using a smudged postmark as a guide and clipping coupons all along the way. The journey leads to Texas, near the Mexican border at El Paso. Miles of empty ranchland stretch in front of you and a rickety fence marks the border. If ever there was a visual representation of "getting lost in the wilderness," this is it. There she not only finds Carl, she meets and befriends his new girlfriend Carmen (Patricia Velazquez) and her wise-man grandfather (Alfonso Arau) who senses in her an untapped power . . .

Actually, anyone with a modicum of intelligence knew from the very first shot of the movie that Joline was very in tune with witchery. Though that "w" word is never mentioned, we found ourselves thinking "is she a good witch or a bad witch?" as the flick played out. Turns out it's a bit of both and it's a bit of the story like all the other bits of the story that is underdeveloped and underwritten. What could be comic, as Joline surveils her hubby's house with brother Jay (Casey Affleck) and Carmen in the cars behind her, also watching, isn't.

Casey is such an underachiever that, as a counterpoint to his gangbuster sister, he isn't. Rounding off the cast of half formed characters is Neil (Goran Visnjic) who lives in the house next door to Carl and gets turned on by the thought of seducing a married woman. He's out of luck, as Jo is committed to Carl, as her ongoing voice over informs you. You're actually hearing the daily journal she's writing about her commitment to her husband, as well as other observations on daily life, relationships and commitment. It all reminds us of long ago, heavy duty college conversations about the same subjects, over well stoked bongs. Oh, yes it does (not that we have any info about writer/director Lisa Krueger's modus operandi). Aimed at a GenX audience, Committed would be perfect for that audience except that it is slow and way too analytical, in the way that Thai stick induced philosophy is . . . except for the lack of a good rush.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Committed, he would have paid...

$1.00

Pass it by.

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