Saturday, February 26

The Romantics

A romantic drama about love, destiny and other events you just can't plan for.

The Romantics is based on the novel of the same name by Galt Niederhoffer (who also wrote the screenplay and directed the film). The story follows a group of friends, nicknamed 'The Romantics' due to their incredibly incestuous friendships, who reunite for the wedding of two of their friends, Lila (Anna Paquin) and Tom (Josh Duhamel). However trouble arises the night before the wedding because of the maid of honour's (Laura, played by Katie Holmes) rivalry with the bride and past relationship with the groom.

The first I'd heard of this film was when American clothing line J.Crew launched a tie-in campaign featuring some of the film's actors, I was immediately intrigued and after reading a little about the film added it to my 'must see' list'. Even so I will admit I was a little wary about watching the film, mostly because I don't like Josh Duhamel in the slightest - the thought of two women fighting over him was just beyond me. I do however really like the majority of the rest of the cast - Anna Paquin, Adam Brody, Elijah Wood, Candice Bergman, Main Akerman and Katie Holmes - it's a pretty decent cast, so really how awful could it be? Well, let's see shall we?

(more after the jump - a little spoilery)

I don't think the term 'romantic drama' ever fit a film more than this, because basically that is what The Romantics is, a whole load of romantic drama. I think it's probably a lot to do with the characters and their incredibly banal problems; the exhibitionist actress who does coke and can't find a decent job and her insanely committed husband; the newly engaged couple who haven't set a date because the man is afraid of settling down, whilst the woman naively waits; the couple who dated throughout college (and were on/off after) who believe that they are 'soulmates'  - the woman who tries to cling on to the relationship and the man who sees no problem in marrying one of her best friends. I don't think a single character in this film was likeable, none more-so than Anna Paquin's character, Lila (The bride).

I'm of the belief that if you hire a pretty good actress like Anna Paquin you should actually give her something worthwhile to do, rather than making her as one-dimensional as they did in this film. Lila is the sort of girl you are either unlucky enough to have as a friend or have heard about in passing. The sort of girl who wants everything that you have - be that the dress you have had your eye on or the boy you have been lusting after - she will stop at nothing to get it. Normally with this sort of character you'd at least get a reason why she acted the way she did, but there was barely a back story provided, which left me to wonder how these girls were friends with her in the first place, not only did they not seem like close friends of 10+ years, she was truly reprehensible. In the same vein of making the most of the actors you have, Elijah Wood played Lila's brother Chip, who amongst the mumbled dialogue I gathered that he was friends with the group in college also, I'm not sure. It was certainly not the best use of Elijah Wood (Dianna Agron plays their youngest sibling, who I really had to mention because she was called Minnow, like the fish and I'm still trying to work out who'd name their child Minnow).

Perhaps the fact that I really dislike Josh Duhamel meant that I already went into watching this film with a bit of a bias, but for want of  better word his character was a bit of a cowardly d*ck. If after all the dialogue between his and Katie Holmes' character was supposed to endear me to him - ooh, he recites Keats whilst making love - then it didn't work. He struck me as the sort of person who tries so hard to be deep and meaningful, but somehow always comes across as insincere in his attempts; The more he talked about being afraid of love and being in love the more I thought that Laura was probably well rid of him - because really, what sort of man would date someone for however many years only to later get engaged to her best friend without telling her? The continuous will they won't they (for the entire film) was just tedious.

Well haven’t you heard? Opposites attract and then they bore each other to death… I’d rather die of excitement.

Katie's character, being the lead was possibly the only vaguely likable or relatable character. Laura is the sort of sincere, naive character that Holmes is so used to playing at this point. She's almost a grown up Joey Potter (Dawson's Creek), awkward in social situations and chasing after a man that probably isn't right for her, whilst uttering incredibly sentimental (wordy) dialogue. The difference between Joey and Laura being of course the fact that Joey Potter is a 15 year old girl and Laura is a twenty-something woman - at some point you have to stop chasing after 'the boy who inspires you'.

The 'side characters' - the rest of Laura, Lila and Tom's college friends were possibly the most 'eye-roll inspiring' of them all. There was many a time when I wanted to scream at the screen "suck it up and just deal" - Their lives were so incredibly dull and trite.

Personally, I think the story/concept is a good one, if not done a million times over. It's when it comes to the characters that it falls short. Perhaps it's due to the fact that it was written and directed by the person who wrote the book, which (although I have zero experience in doing) are two very different types of writing - I don't think characters in books have to be as developed, as the reader is more likely to form their own idea of the characters during the course of the book, whereas in film the viewer mostly expects the characters to be portrayed to them fully-developed straight away. If the average film is around 90-120 minutes, I don't want to spend time trying to develop the characters in my own head. Which is what I felt I had to do whilst watching The Romantics.

1 comment:

  1. Amazing post!

    I think you'll like this...


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