At first glance The Romantics gives the impression that it might be one of those trendy new value packed romantic comedies laced with bits and pieces of top talent aimed at getting fans in the seats but offers little in the way of good story telling. A good example being the dull "He's Just Not That Into You" or the recent "Valentine's Day." Luckily the Romantics is not one of those types of films, in contrast it's a true ensemble piece where the actors work stronger as a unit then alone. The casting by long time producer, first time feature length Director Galt Niederhoffer is near pitch perfect and the players work together seamlessly to create a smart story about the unpredictability of love and how we may get older and wander but some things just never change.
The Romantics are a crew of preppy (former J.Crew models from the looks of their cloths) late 20 somethings that come together on a Hamptonish Long Island estate for their friend Lila (Anna Paquin) and Tom's (Josh Duhamel) wedding. Lila has asked her old college roommate and friend Laura (Katie Holmes) to be her maid of honor. This a rather devious gesture by Lila because Laura has a long standing history with the groom Tom. Of course with the old gang getting together again Laura must push through the torment and do her part at the wedding. The friends are all well aware of the tension between Lila, Tom and Laura and expect fireworks to fly before the the wedding bells ring. Tensions begin to build at the wedding rehearsal dinner before kicking off a wild night that finds old lovers reuniting and old friends rediscovering themselves.
The Romantics asks the question is the nostalgia of our past love just a sugar coated flashback or is that first true love the most pure and most enduring love? From what we can gather here, there is no clear answer only a process of trying to understand ones true feelings. The Romantics stays true to the process, allowing the events of the movie to unfold in a very honest and rewarding manner . Where other lesser films might try to force the jokes and push forward to a obviously predictable ending the Romantics is at its best when it focuses simply on people's feelings and the raw emotion of the moment.
What is abundantly clear after viewing this movie is that Katie Holmes is a really great actress, not good, great. Believable, honest and fragile, in the role of Laura she elevates the material here and there leaves little doubt that she deserves consideration on her own merits sans her TomKat status. Additionally Josh Duhamel delivers a very rewarding performance, he brings a lot of charm and honesty to the performance. His chemistry here with Katie works incredibly well.
The entire cast all have there moments in the Romantics, however its hard not to see that many of the players here deserved more screen time and more chance for developmet. Elijah Wood in particular needed more face time, he is an absolute riot fest here. To add to that Dianna Agron of Glee fame turns out a great little performance as Anna Paquin's sister in the movie. Strikingly gorgeous and infatuating on screen Dianna is a star in the making, her moments with Anna were gems. Fans of Malin Ackerman, Anna Paquin and Adam Brody will probably feel let down that each star didn't receive a bit better treatment, however there are still little treats in each of the their performances which should satisfy most fans.
Laura (Katie Holmes) reluctantly travels from New York City to the rustic country to serve as the maid of honor for her former college roommate, Lila (Anna Paquin), who is marrying Laura�s longtime boyfriend, Tom (Josh Duhamel). Their other former college friends compile the remainder of the wedding party, and in the one night and morning before the wedding, circumstances become involved.
While it can be considered artistic not to offer audiences all the background information, it would have been beneficial to learn some more of the back story behind the central love triangle. Some of the characters could also have been more developed, but the generally strong performances of the cast gives some much needed dimension to the personalities of the characters.
Elijah Wood gives an especially natural performance as the loose-cannon comic character of Chip, and Katie Holmes and Anna Paquin gain at least some sympathy for their rival characters.
The filming of the movie adds a pleasant realism to the feeling of the film, and some of the background songs are noticeably well utilized for conveying the mood of given characters or scenes.
It may be becoming an overused premise that one man is relinquishing his greater love because their relationship is more complicated than his relationship to a seemingly simpler woman, but sadly, it is probably true that many real people settle for someone who seems safe rather than pursuing a better match.
Three actresses (Katie Holmes, Anna Paquin and Malin Akerman) come together quite harmoniously in the bizarrely fun and natural-feeling The Romantics (Paramount Famous Productions), an �80s-style ensemble piece involving a lavish wedding party for an oblivious bride-to-be (Paquin), an unfaithful groom (Josh Duhamel) and a maid of honor with a secret (Holmes, in her best role so far). The potential for soapiness is tempered by a smart, biting script and exciting acting all around, helmed by first-time director (and writer of the novel on which it is based) Galt Niederhoffer.
The film certainly isn't kidding about its inspiration; romanticism, poetry, crazy acts of love and passion are all present here in spades. So is a highly cringe-worthy wedding toast scene that stands up to a similarly marvelous moment in Rachel Getting Married. The weak link is definitely Duhamel, but perhaps it's because his two-timing character is a total and utter jerkoff, one wonders what either of these women could possibly see in him. But that aside, Niederhoffer gets major points for creating a believable group of fun-loving friends, evidenced by the amazing ease and camaraderie between these actors, something not seen since The Breakfast Club. Akerman is perfect as the resident party animal, and parts by Candice Bergen and Elijah Wood as the control-freak mother of the bride and the nuttiest friend in the bunch are delicious.