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The Romantics: So Not Romantic

By Megan Lane · September 14, 2010

Even though it’s pretty well known among TSL readers that I hate everything. It’s not often that a movie can make me livid. And when it does, it’s usually at just a writer, director, or maybe a couple of actors. However, when the only major release on the weekend after Labor Day is Resident Evil: Afterlife in 3D (2010), I decided to scour the independents and find something different. The Romantics caught my eye, mostly because I wouldn’t mind doing some kissing with Adam Brody (don’t judge) and also since, I have boobs and therefore love wedding movies. However, this movie actually managed to make me angry at society. The last filmmaker (and I use that word very liberally) to do that was Michael Patrick King. And because of this anger, my review will not only cover my thoughts on The Romantics, but also my thoughts on relationships, marriage, and life. Sorry.

I can’t accurately criticize this movie without a detailed plot description so apologies for the spoilers, but due to it’s limited release and 14% on Rotten Tomatoes, I highly doubt most of the TSL readers are overloading Fandango buying tickets to the Romantics.

Laura (Katie Holmes) heads to the country to serve as the maid of honor to her best friend Lila (Anna Paquin) even though she is marrying Laura’s ex-boyfriend, Tom (Josh Duhamel). Laura and Tom have actually continued sleeping together for years, including the night before he proposed to Lila. Sound like an episode of Dynasty yet? Keep reading.

When Tom disappears the night before the wedding, Laura and the rest of the wedding party split up to look for him, pairing off into non-couples. Tripler (Malin Ackerman) heads off with Jake (Adam Brody) while her husband Pete (Jeremy Strong) goes off with Jake’s fiancé Weesie (Rebecca Lawrence). Laura ends up finding Tom and after telling him off for treating her like shit (rightfully so), she proceeds to sleep with him, thinking they are back together. Meanwhile, Pete informs Weesie that he doesn’t trust Tripler and the two decide to go streaking. Clearly Pete had great instincts because meanwhile, Tripler and Jake do some cocaine and end up dry humping.

The next day, all the previous night’s events go unacknowledged until Laura informs Lila that she slept with Tom. Lila tells her that she doesn’t care and she still wants to marry Tom because clearly this is Laura’s fault. The wedding progresses until it starts to rain (which could only be expected in the fall on the East Coast) and everyone runs inside except Tom and Laura (who laughs). The end.

The Romantics is pretty much everything that is wrong with my generation’s view of love and marriage. The characters’ inexplicable actions make the audience simply stare in wonderment of Ivy League grads who can behave in such a immature matter. We currently live in a society where twenty-somethings rush into marriage with the wrong partner simply because they think they are “ready to be married” or that it’s “the next step.” They are entitled to love and it does not need to be worked at or even nurtured. They believe that since “opposites attract”, you should marry someone who you not only have nothing in common with, but with whom you are not compatible.

On top of that, women, typically ones seen on Jerry Springer, often blame the other woman for their man’s indiscretions. While Laura was in no way innocent in sleeping with her best friend’s boyfriend, why doesn’t Lila blame Tom as well? He’s the one who actually made a promise to be faithful to her, not Laura. Why does she stay with him? Simply because she wants to be married. She’d rather be married and unhappy than deal with the idea of being alone. Laura, on the other hand, desperately wants to get back with a man who left her, lied to her, and used her. Why? Because she wants a man. These women seriously need to see Eat Pray Love (2010). Whatever happened to faithfulness in not only relationships, but friendships? Chicks before dicks, ladies.

The same goes for the male side. Pete married, I repeat, married, Tripler when he feels can’t trust her with his best friend. And clearly he can’t. And she married him when she couldn’t be faithful. Does anyone else see a problem marrying someone you cannot trust? Isn’t that the basis of marriage?

Despite an all-star cast, which also included Candice Bergren, Dianna Agron (of “Glee”) and Elijah Wood, these severe character problems made the acting feel forced and overdone. This was not due to the performances as the actors actually did quite well with the material they were given. If this was the situation and they had to act this way, I guess I believed it. However, I cannot imagine a situation in which anyone would.

The easiest example comes from the simple fact that Lila even asked Laura to be her maid of honor. Let’s go with the idea that the two even remained friends after Lila started dating Tom. Why, when the two got engaged, would she think it’s a good idea to ask Tom’s ex to be her maid of honor? Especially when anyone who’s breathing can tell Laura is still desperately in love with Tom. And why would Laura, who again, is still desperately in love with Tom, agree to be the maid of honor for a woman who’s marrying the man she’s been sleeping with for the past ten years? The entire movie is filled with questions like these.

Needless to say, writer-director Galt Niederhoffer delivered a story with unlikeable characters who don’t behave in any sort of believable manner, which is hysterical because their motivations are unfortunately seen more often than not among the twenty-somethings filling America’s cubicles. The entire plot is forced and ridiculous leaving the audience wondering, “why is this even happening?”. The night before a wedding should not be nearly this eventful and the bride and groom should not be seriously wondering if they are right for each other twelve hours before they walk down the aisle.

And just to add insult to injury, what the hell does that ending mean? Is the wedding off because it rained? Is Tom going to be with Laura now because the rain got him out of his vows? Or are they just going to continue inside? What about the other couples who simultaneously cheated on each other the previous night? Sorry Katie Holmes, but laughing in the rain tells me nothing. Thank God I wasn’t invested.

The only saving grace of The Romantics is that it is currently released in only two theaters and made $44k it’s opening weekend. Hopefully not too many people will have the opportunity to learn about relationships from this movie.

0 out of 4 Happily Ever Afters.