ZERO STARS/**** Image C Sound B Extras D
starring Katie Holmes, Josh Duhamel, Anna Paquin, Elijah Wood
screenplay by Galt Niederhoffer, based on her novel
directed by Galt Niederhoffer
by Walter Chaw Though technically correct, I much prefer the term "Romanticists" to "Romantics," but that's a fussy kind of neither here nor there in a film, hyphenate Galt Neiderhoffer's The Romantics, that suffers from nothing like precision, elegance, or, crucially, poetry. It's a nightmare--a handheld, artfully ugly mash-up of Rachel Getting Married and Dead Poets Society that starts with credits in Wes Anderson's favourite font and slogs on through with Lilith Fair/coffee-shop folk and a character played by Katie Holmes who's jealous of a character played by Anna Paquin's boobs. Let's call it a draw, ladies, and discuss instead this variety of faux-prestige romcom, which hijacks Lloyd Dobler's holding of a boombox blaring Peter Gabriel over his head by having frickin' Josh Duhamel hoist an iPhone with Keats's "To a Nightingale" on its screen. It features idiots like dollar-store Cameron Diaz Malin Akerman and an increasingly Gollum-esque Elijah Wood in awkward supporting roles; allows scenarios like the nightmare rehearsal-dinner toast montage; and tasks Candace Bergen's team of handlers and feeders to drag her out to yet again fulfill the role of Tyrannosaurus Reaction Shot. Good job, Ms. Neiderhoffer, for not only mistaking Catch & Release for Noah Baumbach or Lars Von Trier, for not only setting your indie emoti-fest in the Dan in Real Life bizarre-verse, but for borrowing a bad burlesque from the lame 27 Dresses, too.