Monday, May 02, 2011

Random DVD Round-Up 1 - THE ROMANTICS

THE ROMANTICS is a movie about a bunch of late-twenties college friends reunited at the Long Island wedding of two of the group. The marriage forces the group to re-assess their friendships, loyalties and sexual attraction - and all this should create tension around whether the wedding between Tom and Lila (Josh Duhamel and Anna Paquin) will actually go ahead given that Laura (Katie Holmes) is still carrying a torch for the groom. The audience is meant to be drawn into the emotional lives of characters who feel mixed-up and sympathetic - just like us! And debut feature director, Galt Niederhoffer (adapting her own novel, employs lots of obvious tricks to try and manufacture that empathy and a sense that we are watching an hip counter-culture indie flick rather than an inauthentic Hollywood rom-com: gloomy lighting; painfully indie sound-track; deliberately obscure ending. Sadly though, the film fails on every level. Casting 40 year olds like Josh Duhamel breaks the credibility of the film, especially when we're meant to believe he was a peer of THE OC's Adam Brody. The acting is universally bad and yet for diametrically opposite reasons: chip-board performances from Duhamel and Katie Holmes but hammy, over-the-top acting from Elijah Woods, Malin Akerman and Anna Paquin. The whole thing struck me as self-indulgent; pretentious; inauthentic and dull, dull, dull. Distributors were right to scorn it: there is a reason why it appeared in the UK as a straight to video/TV release. 

THE ROMANTICS played Sundance 2010 and was released in 2010 in the US and Slovenia. It was released in Iceland in March 2011.

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