The Romantics. Don’t be fooled by the shiny trailer, folks, please please (PLEASE) read below before attempting to watch this film and do not handle heavy machinery (a good lesson in general). It’s all laid out below: the good, the bad and the ugly.
The Bad. About half-way into this movie (okay, that’s a lie–let me start over).
About 5 minutes into this movie, I had an epiphany. I sat up and I thought, “I don’t really like Katie Holmes as an actress, nor do I like Josh Duhamel, and Malin Akerman annoys the crap out of me. Why am I even watching this movie?” I spent the next 10 minutes contemplating this and couldn’t actually come up with a good answer. However, I’m not one to abandon a task once it’s already begun. If I painfully trudged through every bar dancing number of Coyote Ugly I could certainly get through this. Besides, it’s bound to get better. It has to. Right?
I suppose that’s all in how you define the word “better”. See below:
Laura is upset
Lila is about to get married
Tom is Lila’s rather distant fiance, whom we know nothing about.
Tom and Laura used to date (THAT’S why she’s upset!)
Tom and Lila dated after Laura broke up with Tom
Laura still loves Tom
Tom tell Lila he love her
Tom sleep with Laura
Tom and Lila about to get married…
….anddd cue the ambiguous rain.
I suppose, on paper, it doesn’t sound ALL that bad. But believe you me, I didn’t even mention the sub-plots involving all of Laura’s rather obnoxious friends, whose names I didn’t catch and whose names I can’t be bothered to look up on imdb because, frankly, it’s not worth my time (too mean?).
However, the entire movie is founded on the originality and inspiration for relationships. Ironically though, this movie doesn’t offer anything original or inspiring. Okay, that’s kinda hard to do (I guess), but the film doesn’t even try to offer the concept in at least an original or inspiring way. For a film that lingers and takes its time, it spent no time developing the characters that are central to these relationships on which the film is commentating.
So you end up trapped somewhere in the north (I’m completely guessing, there was some reference in the film to the north so I’m going with that) with two-dimensional characters that you can’t relate to and you can’t identify with. No wonder everyone at that wedding was so miserable.
The most frustrating thing is that this movie had potential. If re-written to give more character development between the three leads, something could have actually (okay, maybe) come of it. Instead, we are given absolutely no background on the Laura/Tom relationship (except that it lasted for 4 years and they read poetry) so we don’t even know why Tom should be so conflicted about choosing Lila over Laura anyway. However, HE seemed so conflicted that I started to think, “Hmm, did I miss something? Maybe during my ten to fifteen minute rant about why I even chose to watch this movie I actually missed something.” (The irony there would have been unbearable). But, alas, I didn’t miss anything. Tom just wants to have his cake and eat it, too. And apparently Laura is willing to let him partake of her delectable goodness. A lot.
The Good. I was pretty impressed with Anna Paquin (who plays Lila). She is the only one who (at least) tries to make something out of the nothing she was given. Although she doesn’t seem to know how to play her character in the beginning, she delivers in the end becoming almost a vilianesque character. She is so desperate to beat Laura and marry Tom that she blatantly ignores his infidelity. It really isn’t until this moment that you realize that her ambivalent character in the beginning of the film wasn’t really ambivalent at all. She was just seriously trying to hold it together and manipulate the situation so she could force a guy (poor conflicted adulterer Tom) to marry her so she could finally win. (I suppose that’s one way of doing things). Genius? Hardly, but it was the one bright spot in this otherwise lackluster film.
Josh Duhamel IS nice to look at–especially in a suit. We all have our purpose in life, I suppose.
The Ugly. Someone has GOT to tell Katie Holmes that there is more to acting than rubbing your hair out of your serious looking face while delivering lines that are clearly and meticulously memorized. This may have worked in those Joey Potter days, but, you’re a long way from Capside. You’ve got to really bring it when you are in a motion picture surrounded by such talent as Josh Duhamel, Malin Akerman, and that dude from that show about California. Oh, and Frodo Baggins. (Note: the word talent in this section is used liberally. VERY liberally.)
This film is rated PG-13 and can be found at your local video rental establishment or On Demand (but, you’ve been warned).