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Movie review of Committed

No, "Committed" isn't another "Girl, Interrupted" or "28 Days." Rather, this is a different kind of commitment, the kind one makes for richer or poorer, for better or worse till death - or insanity - do us part.

In a throwaway world, such fierce old-fashioned fidelity almost seems like a novelty plot-line. And that's what gives Lisa Krueger's slight but endearing comedy its fresh face.

Her well-received first film was the quirky, warm-hearted "Manny & Lo" (1996), about a couple of orphans on the run. Her second, written out of her own marital woes and divorce, tracks a New York rock club manager determined to honor her wedding vows.

Joline (Heather Graham) doesn't just stand by her man, she trails him 2,000 miles after befuddled Carl (Luke Wilson) wanders off in search of "space."

He finds it in the desert and Joline finds him - and his new girlfriend Carmen (Patricia Velasquez) - outside El Paso. Rather than force herself on him, she stakes out his trailer, watching over him like a guardian angel with charms from a local medicine man (Mexican filmmaker Alfonso Arau).
As Joline, the saucer-eyed Graham has far more to do than in "Drugstore Cowboy" (she played the young waif who OD's), "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me" or "Scream 2," and she manages to tack between flaky New Wave naif and strong-willed wife headed 'round the bend.

As a confused runaway spouse, Dallasite Wilson is perfectly cast. Casey Affleck is a stand-out as Joline's anything-goes brother and Goran Visnjic ("E.R.") radiates sensuality as a Croatian artist on the make for Joline.

Mary Kay Place, so good as the hostage in "Manny & Lo," shows up here as a psychiatrist, while Mr. Arau, who's acted in American films, including "The Wild Bunch" and "Romancing the Stone," is best known as director of "Like Water for Chocolate" and "A Walk in the Clouds."

Ms. Krueger's examination of the fine line between between faith and madness, commitment and being committed, sags here and there, but cinematographer Tom Krueger, her brother, gives the Texas scenes a magical, sun-washed look. That's a group called Calexico on the bright oldies-but-goodies soundtrack.
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