A scene from 'Committed'
Courtesy Photo
** stars 97 minutes | Rated: R
Opened: Friday, May 5, 2000
Written & directed by Lisa Krueger

Starring Heather Graham, Luke Wilson, Casey Affleck, Goran Visnjic, Patricia Velasquez, Clea Duvall & Alfonso Arau


The kind of quirky romantic comedy that plays at 4am on HBO. Small screen won't hurt what there is of the film to enjoy.

   VIDEO RELEASE: 10/10/2000


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Graham plays it flaky as abandoned bride 'Committed' to finding runaway hubby in self-satisfied road comedy

By Rob Blackwelder

Reveling in chickdom and slice-of-life indie flick tang, "Committed" is such a bright idea for a movie, it almost gets by on concept alone.

It's about an effervescent, trendy manager of an underground New York City night club named Joline (the virtually irresistible Heather Graham), who just below her funky surface is an old fashioned girl, giddy to the core about being somebody's good little wife -- even after that somebody runs out on her to go soul-searching in the Southwest.

Her husband Carl (Luke Wilson, "My Dog Skip," "Blue Streak") is a frustrated newspaper photographer stuck in a rut of food section assignments and stifling some serious emotional wanderlust. One day he just bolts, sending Joline a Dear Jane postcard from the road with a cactus on the front and a hopelessly smeared postmark on the back.

Being a dogged perseverance kind of girl, she resolves to honor her wedding vows come hell or high water. So she rents a car, buys a map and drives cross-country in all her Manhattan-native naiveté to start scouring Texas for her wayward spouse. She's determined to be there for him, for better or worse.

As envisioned by writer-director Lisa Krueger, "Committed" is an introspective and empowering comedy about a woman re-examining her priorities and learning to look to herself for her happiness.

But even a charismatic everygirl like the wildly talented Graham can't overcome the character-distancing fact that Joline is a major flake. She's sweet, she's honest and she follows her heart. It's nice to watch her grow a little because she is quite likable -- but in the same way a crazy aunt is likable. You might get a kick out of seeing her on holidays and at weddings, but you don't really want to be a part of her life.

She eventually finds Carl living in an outskirts-of-El Paso trailer park and starts stalking him with a pinch of help from some new friends: a mystical native shayman with spells for sale (Mexican director Alfonso Arau), a wacky waitress with bad luck in love (Patricia Velasquez) and a conspicuously charming papier mache sculptor with romantic ulterior motives (Goran Visnjic).

Overly pleased with its own quirkiness and its cast of eccentrics (Casey Affleck plays her permanently baffled brother with two lesbian roommates who make jewelry from doll heads), this seat-of-the-pants labor-of-love production (Krueger wrote the script after a divorce) is an earnest effort but a slight comedy with a gratingly constant, contemplative crisis-of-faith voice-over.

If Joline had been a little brighter or if we'd been shown anything at all of her apparently once-wonderful marriage, we might have identified more with her wide-eyed dedication. But as it is, we just wonder why it takes this girl so long to write off her loser husband and move on.

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