A scene from Four of a Kind and Paramount Famous...

A scene from Four of a Kind and Paramount Famous Productions' "The Romantics." Credit: Paramount Famous

One of the great mysteries of life will be whatever caused Katie Holmes, Anna Paquin and Josh Duhamel to RSVP to "The Romantics," a story about old friends who hate each other, a wedding between two people who don't love each other, and a movie that beats movie formula to death.

The one poignant aspect of "The Romantics," which is directed and written by Galt Niederhoffer and based on her novel, is the idea of people for whom college is, and will be ever after, the high point of their lives. That "The Romantics" is written like something a first-year creative writing instructor would tear in half makes the whole project far more ironic than moving.

The too-quiet, too-dignified bridezilla is Lila (Paquin), who is marrying Tom (Duhamel), whom all their friends expected to marry Laura (Holmes) - who, instead, is Lila's maid of honor. Considering the level of hostility /

anxiety that exists between Lila and Laura, why exactly are they putting themselves in this position? There may be reasons. You can imagine what they are. But you don't get a clue from Niederhoffer.

You also don't get the sense of sisterhood that's supposed to exist among Lila, Katie, Tripler (Malin Akerman) and Weesie (Rebecca Lawrence), not in a way that draws an audience into their friendships and makes their erratic behavior endearing, rather than annoying. Duhamel does a good job of making Tom an utter weakling in his waffling over the two women, but this doesn't explain why they want him. Or why anyone should want to watch.

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