Billy Crudup, Mandy Moore, Tom Wilkinson, and Dianne Wiest, star in this quirky comedy-drama about a guy that’s so frustrated with life that he pushes everyone away, other than his illustrator-friend-father figure. Crudup and Wilkinson create children’s books about a hardworking beaver – not just any beaver though – it’s one that has captivated children all over the U.S. and has landed them a deal with a major publishing company. Wilkinson draws, and Crudup writes the stories. Sarcasm is how Crudup gets through life, which only makes him feel worse. He has odd behaviors such as staking books on top of his abdomen. Wilkinson tries to keep him in line, and wants him to find a woman who is nice and can put up with his foolish behavior.
At the beginning of this film, I was wondering why I had picked up another random movie at the video store. Typically, Mandy Moore films don’t disappoint, but after a couple of minutes I wasn’t so sure.
The film starts off kinda goofy – Crudup and Wilkinson are sitting in an adult film theatre. After about 10 minutes it picks up – the conversation between Wilkinson and Crudup becomes rather intriguing.
Henry Roth (Billy Crudup, “The Good Shepherd,” “Inventing the Abbott’s,” “Almost Famous”) is self-centered, sarcastic, and needs to be slapped. He doesn’t know how to function with people, yet – he is catering to children, through his books. Rudy Holt (Tom Wilkinson, “Michael Clayton,” “Cassandra’s Dream,” “In the Bedroom”) his illustrator and best friend always tries to knock sense into him.
Henry’s relationship with Lucy (Mandy Moore, “A Walk to Remember,” “American Dreamz”) another illustrator, is purely professional. The sexual tension soon explodes-which doesn’t mix well with their working relationship.
Wilkinson and Crudup are actors that choose interesting roles that are memorable to those that like “Indie” type films.
I like the film because it makes you think, and it’s about overcoming fears and dealing with new circumstances. It’s about the little things in life and doing something for the right reasons. The film also portrays an individual who overcomes some aspects of an obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Mandy Moore (“License To Wed,” “Because I Said So”) is fantastic in the film, she can really hold her own, no matter what part she plays – a twitty blonde, or a smart and sophisticated brunette.
Even though this film is categorized as a comedy-drama, I put this into the “slice of life” section because it is an offbeat story centered around a relationship and a “finding yourself” theme.
This movie is worth watching at least once.
Review by Meredith A. Iager