Jan

5

 I finally got around to seeing "The Romantics" this weekend, watching it on Netflix streaming cable.

I would have thought that it would have a lot going against it for me. It's aimed at women, a "chick flick". Also it's a reunion flick in which old friends from college get together later, and I can think of any number of such movies– "The Big Chill", "The Secaucus Seven", "Four Weddings and a Funeral", "St. Elmo's Fire"– that I didn't like. To my surprise, though, I found "Romantics" to be fun to watch. It was funny, interesting, and kind of thought-provoking.

Usually my problem with the college reunion flicks ("Big Chill", etc.) is that I don't like the feeling I get, that the movie kind of assumes that my worldview will be fairly compatible with the groupthink that's accumulated among the reunioners, and I feel that the movie is trying to pull me in, slowly boiling me like a lobster. Somehow "Romantics" avoids that fate. Many of the snark reviewers focused on their dislike of the characters, and I can't disagree with them on that. Tom, the groom, flits back and forth between Laura, his supposed true flame, and Lila, his security blanket. He seems kind of dim-witted. Lila is forgiving beyond any bounds of decency. Laura is "self-absorbed", as the snarkers say, because no ethical concerns ever stop her from going ahead with what she thinks will fulfill her. But it doesn't make sense to judge the movie on the character of the characters, and maybe the fact that I didn't particularly like the characters helped me keep my objective distance, so I didn't feel like the boiled lobster. By no means was the author setting up any of them as model citizens–it's about the ambiguity of where they're going to take their lives.

Anyway, I give it a thumbs-up. It kept me interested and absorbed, and it's more memorable than most movies out there.


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