By: Jenna Zine (Three Beers) –
Seven friends from college reunite for a wedding; but there’s a wrench in the plans when it’s revealed that the maid of honor is in love with the groom. Needless to say, the bride is none too happy…
The movie is shot with hues of gray, along with the requisite “shaky cam.” That’s your head’s up that shit is about to get real, people. Though it was marketed as a rom-com, it’s really more of a rom-drama. The slow moving, dialogue-heavy film focuses on glum Laura (Katie Holmes), who shows up at best friend Lila’s (Anna Paquin) sweeping estate for a fancy wedding to hunky Tom (Josh Duhamel). The dear friends rounding out the ensemble include free spirit Tripler (Malin Akerman), Jake (Adam Brody), creepy Chip (Elijah Wood), as well as Pete and Weesie (newcomers Jeremy Strong and Rebecca Lawrence). Candice Bergen and Glee’s Dianna Agron also make appearances as the bride’s mother and sister, respectively. The nuanced work of this talented cast makes this a pleasant DVD experience.
I’m not gonna lie – I’ve seen happier wedding parties. I’d kill for one of those bridesmaid dresses, though. Featuring non-hideous silk!
This is the art house version of Something Borrowed, which showcases a similar plot with a bigger budget feel. To its credit, The Romantics builds slowly and lets the viewer put the pieces together as to why Laura is so tortured in her role as maid of honor – versus Something Borrowed, which comes at audience members with a sledgehammer. (Read Oberst Von Berauscht’s excellent review of Something Borrowed from this site here.) Katie Holmes holds her own as a heartbroken woman who can’t understand why her love life went off the rails. She and Josh Duhamel share a believable chemistry as a former couple that has obviously retained a simmering passion. I haven’t seen Katie act this well since she had to choose between Dawson and Pacey! Anna Paquin is a tougher nut to crack – she also delivers a great performance, but comes across as an uptight ice queen – which makes it difficult to believe that Josh’s character would be conflicted about his choice. Malin Akerman shines, per usual, as the gorgeous comic relief.
Where does it fall apart? The problem is twofold: it’s film that wants to take itself a touch too seriously while making an all too-obvious ploy for drama. Laura doesn’t just have feelings for Tom – they dated for four years before Lila interfered with their relationship. What sane bride, best friend or no, would invite that kind of trouble to her wedding – much less have it stand beside her at the alter? Furthermore, what woman would agree to be the maid of honor after her “best friend” essentially “stole” her boyfriend? The fact that these two would’ve made it much past (barely) speaking terms was hard for me to buy. Granted, I might not be the most spiritually evolved person, given that I still haven’t forgiven a certain someone for following my husband around so she could “discuss his Wikipedia page.” But, come on – only a damn fool doesn’t know what it means when a woman spends her time researching a man on the Internet. I’ve got your number, lady! Moving on.
The plus side was the implied, but slightly ambiguous, ending. It was nice to be left alone to wrap up the loose pieces, versus being told exactly how to feel.
Is that an attractive cast, or are you just happy to see me? Note Anna Paquin’s absence. Foreshadowing! [Photo Credit]
Katie Holmes takes a break from being Tom Cruise’s robot/wife and gives the whole “acting thing” a shot. She also took on producer duties. Worth a look, if you have time to spare on a rainy afternoon.
Bonus Drinking Game
Take a Drink: every time Josh Duhamel graces a scene (or Malin Akerman, depending on your preference – they’re both equally capable of burning up the screen)!
Take a Drink: every time you shake your head at Lila’s bridezilla antics.
Take a Drink: every time Chip does – he’s the resident lush for the weekend
Do a Shot: it’s Candice Bergen! Recognize.
“You will watch The Romantics!”
(For old time’s sake. This image never ceases to entertain me…) [Photo Credit]