'The Romantics' Movie Review
Written by: Karen Benardello
The romantics is a nickname adopted by the group of college friends and main characters in the new romantic comedy ‘The Romantics,’ as many of them have dated or have gotten engaged or married to each other. The term can also be used to describe the multiple big-name actors in the small, independent Paramount Famous Productions movie, including Katie Holmes, Anna Paquin, Josh Duhamel, Adam Brody and Elijah Wood, as America has had a long love affair with all of them. As the movie lacks special effects and blockbuster status, Paramount seemed to bank on the profitably of the actors to carry the tumultuous day-in-the-life tale that many people can relate to.
Based on the book ‘The Romantics,’ the second novel by author Galt Niederhoffer, the movie follows Laura Rosen (played by Holmes, who also served as an executive producer), as she travels to the home of her college roommate, Lila Hayes (portrayed by Paquin), six years after graduation. Lila is set to marry Tom, who dated Laura all throughout college. Laura agreed to be Lila’s maid of honor, even though she still has romantic feelings for Tom, and suspects he still has feelings for her. As their friends speculate over whom Tom will choose to be with, Laura struggles between standing up for Lila at the wedding or running off with her old love.
Holmes, Duhalmel and the other actors definitely deserve credit for trying to branch out into a different genre. Having previously done movies known more for their stunts than their story-lines, the actors definitely faced a challenge taking on roles the American audience can actually relate to. But having been in Hollywood since they were kids or teens, many of the main stars lacked the real-life experiences that Americans are facing today, including been romantically torn between two friends.
Niederhoffer, who has also worked as a Hollywood producer on such films as ‘Prozac Nation’ and ‘The Baxter,’ also deserves credit for taking the leap into writing the screenplay for, and directing, ‘The Romantics.’ As a first-time screenwriter and film director, she was able to capture the essence of independent movies, including having the characters strive to better themselves through talking about their life goals and differences. But Niederhoffer introduced so many characters throughout the 95-minute movie that not many are developed, and it’s hard for the audience to even keep track of some of their names. Laura, Lila and Tom’s true personalities aren’t even fully exposed until the end of the movie, and they’re the main characters.
‘The Romantics’ tried to prove that the multiple well-known actors could carry a character-driven story, and that Niederhoffer could compete with other directors of smaller, independent movies. However, the movie starts off with a whimper instead of a bang, and never builds up the necessary momentum needed to truly set itself apart.