THE ROMANTICS As Galt Niederhoffer's comedy of no manners begins, seven college friends, now closing in on their 30s, come together for the wedding of two of their clique at the bride-to-be's beachfront family home. Once dubbed "The Romantics" for their share-and-share-alike dating patterns, the pals reunite for a flashback to sophomore-year bad behavior. Their odd number is a problem — while others have coupled off, maid of honor Laura (Katie Holmes) arrives stag, pining for ex and reluctant groom Tom (Josh Duhamel), who's set to walk the aisle with Laura's former dorm-mate, Lila (Anna Paquin). The Romantics is Niederhoffer's directorial debut. An established film producer and novelist, she published The Romantics in 2008 — it's now back on shelves in tie-in paperback. Her story is after something — the way that the memory of college freedom haunts our attempts at "settling down," specifically in the privileged classes — but it is uncertain how her material is served by cinematography that resembles mid-'90s home video and music from a Forever 21 dressing room. Questions about the possibility of adult Romanticism are reduced to Tom's decision between a future with pragmatic Lila and her comfortable dowry — or wild sex and Keats-quoting with Laura. Holmes is no force of nature, so her tempestuous soul is more discussed than evidenced, while wild liberation is a matter of drunken night swimming — where one wishes them, collectively, the fate of that other Romantic Percy B. Shelley. (Landmark)


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