directed by Lisa Krueger
(Miramax, 2000)

When Committed begins, Jo, the main character played by Heather Graham with dreadlocks, is in an institution. In methodical narrative, she spills out her reasons for being there: flaky husband takes off to "find himself" out west somewhere, leaving Jo a note and a bouquet of daisies as a thank you for the three years they spent together.

Gee. Nice Guy. Happens every day. We won't dwell on it. (Though, subliminally I have to comment that this is pretty much what my ex-husband did, giving me a not-so-unique sense of pity for Jo. Empathy, maybe. Just so you know where I'm coming from, y'know.)

Anyway, after receiving a postcard from the illustrious husband-gone-missing, she decides in a moment that sitting around accepting the loss of her husband just isn't quite her style. She takes her vows seriously. So she tosses his picture on a map and heads to Texas to find him.

Find him she does. She tries to give him his space, but needless to say, some obstacles are tossed in along the way. Shake, stir and pour into the mold of a wacky comedy, and there you have Committed.

Though this may not be one of the most enjoyable movies I've ever seen (nor is it one of my favorites even in the screwball comedy genre, for that matter), I wasn't calling for a refund of my money either. Here's why:

• The characters, though taken to an extreme, are pretty likable. Even the bad guy -- Jo's husband -- who is like a giant parody of every sensitive new-age let's-communicate type man you've ever known. It's not as believable as, say, the ponytail man in High Fidelity, but it's enough to make me point at the screen and say to myself, Oh, man ... that's him. That's the idiot....

• The plotline is slow enough to explore said characters, but fast enough that you don't start picking your cuticles with a bowie knife for entertainment.

• The humor isn't British sit-com highbrow, but it doesn't fall into the trap of being Dumb and Dumber butt humor, either.

• They didn't go for the obvious ending, though there was a taste of it. Be warned.

Committed works. It's funny in places, kind of scary in others. (Scary because I saw just a wee bit of myself in her, and I was glad at the time of my own "incident" that I didn't have access to a rental car.) Heather Graham isn't what I'd consider a deep-and-serious actor (Emma Thompson has nothing to fear any time soon, for example), but she does all right in this role.

But most of all, I liked that the movie showed that there were two sides to being committed, and when it comes down to it, those two definitions aren't so very far apart.

[ by Elizabeth Badurina ]

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