With its marriage of neo-screwball and gabby two-timing love triangles, the wedding comedy The Romantics may also be part of a dubious new direction in movies: small talk cinema. In other words, mostly all talk and no action that may tend to leave you feeling more than a little left out of the conversation.
A down in the dumps wedding ceremony gathering with an all star celebrity cast pretending to be terminally glum for the duration, The Romantics is conceived as a combo class reunion as well, when former college roommates reconvene at an upscale suburban seaside McMansion for the marriage of fretful, whining airhead Lila (Anna Paquin) to ambivalent groom Tom (Josh Duhamel). It seems that Tom is still secretly carrying on a longtime affair with Lila’s best friend, love rival and appointed maid of honor, Laura (Katie Homes), and is perfectly willing to continue stringing her along.
And while relatives, arriving house guests, ex-roommates and siblings squabble about outstanding quarrels and fuss over ceremonial preparations, a drunken, rowdy outdoor mass gathering gets into full swing. Allowing fickle fiance Tom and still smitten Laura, to sneak off into the woods for a presumably undetected erotic encounter.
At the same time, a perpetually inebriated Elijah Wood as the bride’s scornful gay brother Chip, seems more alienated than just about anyone else, and in search of an elusive comfort zone at a strictly breeder wedding. And back at the lavish dwelling, Lila gets nearly homicidal over a seriously torn wedding gown, while Candice Bergen as a traditional, neurotic sour mom sets back women’s liberation way into the last century, when she conversely reigned as leading small screen feminist on Murphy Brown.
Directed and written by Galt Niederhoffer (Prozac Nation, Six Chicks In A Kitchen) and adapted from her novel, The Romantics is explained in the course of the movie, as the ‘incestuous dating history’ defining these characters. And indeed not unlike a kind of marriage, as everyone is apparently into ‘falling in and out of love with each other for the rest of our lives.’
Though a bigger question than ‘I do’ during these giggly yet monotonous proceedings is, would you be friends with any of these people in real life. If the answer is no way, this movie may not be for you.
DVD Features: Behind The Scenes.
Paramount Pictures Home Entertainment Rated PG-13 2 [out of 4] stars