The Romantics sets up a delicious premise, a reunion for a wedding of two of a group of college friends, now making their way in their late 20s. In the vein of movies like The Big Chill, Peter's Friends, and Four Weddings and a Funeral, The Romantics has friends who may not exactly be friends, marriages that may not exactly be happy, and longing passions that may not exactly be secret. The all-star cast includes Katie Holmes (who gives a real leading-actress performance here, behind her sleek glamour), Anna Paquin, Josh Duhamel, Malin Akerman, Elijah Wood, Adam Brody, Dianna Agron, and Candice Bergen. Paquin is the blushing (and insecure) bride, Holmes her maid of honor, and Duhamel the groom-to-be who had a long romantic past with Holmes's character. Is that passion truly behind them? The groom's wedding weekend might not be the best time to find out, but that's what makes The Romantics compulsively watchable.
Indie writer and director Galt Niederhoffer wrote the book The Romantics and then adapted it for the screen and directed. The acting is natural, and the setting--a sumptuous estate on beachy Long Island--inviting and real. The Romantics asks age-old questions of what does it mean to be a couple, what do words like "connection" and "commitment" mean, and is our first love really love--or does our memory play tricks on us? The DVD includes a making-of featurette that is almost as entertaining as The Romantics itself. If it looks like a grand old time was being had by the cast at the mansion, the cast members happily insist that was true. A toast to the bride and groom! --A.T. Hurley