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The Romantics
DVD disk
03.08.2011 By: Jaci Selby
The Romantics order download
Director:
Galt Niederhoffer

Actors:
Anna Paquin
Katie Holmes
Josh Duhamel

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Seven friends unite for the wedding of two of their own. A love triangle between the groom and two of the girls reaches a dramatic climax the night before. The groom goes missing and the others split up to find him. In their booze-fueled search, certain truths are exposed, lines are crossed, streaking ensues and tough decisions have to be made.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
I really want to give this film a fair review and not just bash it, but a hot mess is a hot mess. The acting, save a few exceptions, is embarrassing and obvious. The story taking place all in one night forces the characters on us before we're ready and the next thing we know, we're all caught up in their pretty white people problems. Talk about not being able to relate, the whole movie takes place on the bride's (Lila) parent's ridiculous estate on a private beach in upstate New York. There's also not a skin tone lighter than "tan beige" in this joint. Basically, rich people talking at one another. And not rich or scandalous enough to be soap opera material, no amnesia or secret twins here.

The storyline doesn't make much sense either. Laura (Holmes, looking like my grandma) and Lila (Paquin) have been best friends yet bitter rivals since their freshman year of college. Laura had an intense relationship with Tom (Duhamel) that ended years ago. His engagement to Lila comes as a surprise (despite the seven of them being really close?), and Laura is driving up to Upper New York for the wedding when the movie begins. (I understand that a close-knit group of friends is bound to match up and re-match up, but your fiance dated your Maid of Honor for five years??? Girl, no.) Enter the others of the group of friends, Malin Akerman looking as unpretty as I've ever seen her, Adam Brody playing the same role he always does, and some other white couple I couldn't be bothered to care about. Josh Duhamel is the wishy-washy groom who doesn't know who he loves. I think he's better suited to just look pretty and shoot at robots. Elijah Wood is under-used as the bride's drunken brother, as is Dianna Agron as her sister, and come to think of it, so is Candice Bergen as the formidable Mother of The Bride, Augusta.

So many scenes are flat-out painful to watch. The camaraderie is forced, the intense romance is creepy and embarrassing (poetry-quoting, actors stumbling through made-up memories and predictable plot turns). The worst is the fake drunkenness. Seriously, have these people never been drunk before? The only moments not boring or painful to watch are the scenes between Anna Paquin and Dianna Agron as sisters. Akerman also provides some jarring comic relief, but all in all Paquin is the only life preserver in this drippy mess. She's believable and absolutely stunning in the wedding day scenes.

I will say that the crisp autumn backdrop is gorgeous, as is the house and surrounding property. The soundtrack is nice and subtle, and there is definitely a nice pretty feeling to this movie. But to me, that's not enough. If a movie isn't compelling, it at least has to be relatable. This is not the group of people I would've hung out with. I couldn't have afforded it. This is the trust fund version of ST ELMO'S FIRE. The story and conflict is strong enough for a tv show or short story, but not an entire movie. The conflict between the two girls of the love triangle is interesting for about one scene, and the love story between Duhamel, Holmes and Paquin is safe. Some scenes seem grainy and unfocused, which was maybe an intentional move on the director's part.
THE EXTRAS
Behind the Scenes of THE ROMANTICS: One short little featurette about shooting the film. Basically everyone gargles each other's balls and Adam Brody tries to deny every single thing I've said in this review. The cast and crew say about a million times that it "didn't feel like work, or acting, its like we were really all friends." Not sure who they're trying to convince.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
This wasn't the worst movie I've ever seen. It's far from it. I bet the book was compelling, and this might have been a great short film. There's just not enough here to work with, and the true talent here is wasted.
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