2000, R, 97 min. Directed by Lisa Krueger. Starring Heather Graham, Casey Affleck, Luke Wilson, Goran Visnjic, Alfonso Arau, Patricia Velasquez.

REVIEWED By Marjorie Baumgarten, Fri., June 2, 2000

After making her feature filmmaking debut with the magnificent character study Manny & Lo, great things were expected from writer-director Lisa Krueger. Seen in this light, her follow-up, Committed, disappoints, yet the film is an amiable ramble nevertheless. Committed is Heather Graham's show all the way. She stars as the newly married Joline, who takes her wedding vows very seriously. When her husband (Wilson) disappears for parts unknown nearly two years into their marriage, Joline takes her commitment vows to mean that she should scour the earth to find him and return him to their New York City loft. That journey takes her to El Paso, in a rented car, but along the way curious things occur. The problem with Committed is that it mistakes the accumulation of odd moments for character development -- and for the most part these characters remain fairly inscrutable. Joline's quest has interesting ramifications for these current times of increased spiritual yearning, yet from her incessant voiceover narration it's somewhat understandable why her husband felt the need to get out from under. There's also the uncomfortable sexual undercurrents of Joline's relationship with her brother (Affleck). We could go on and mention the carjacking that goes nowhere, the amorous sculptor (Visnjic, from E.R.), her husband's quirky Chicana girlfriend (Velasquez), and the visionary medicine man (Arau). They all add color, but little plot. Heather Graham maintains a casual charm throughout it all, but she lacks the kind of emotional depth that might have pulled this hodge-podge together. You may find yourself disinclined to sign on the dotted line.

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Committed, Lisa Krueger, Heather Graham, Casey Affleck, Luke Wilson, Goran Visnjic, Alfonso Arau, Patricia Velasquez

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