Romantic complications abound when a close-knit group of Yale graduates assemble in Maine for the lavish wedding of two members of their clique.
Darkly attractive, intelligent and complicated, Laura Rosen has reason to dread the nuptials of her golden-girl “best friend” Lila Hayes. After all, she is madly in love with the groom. Laura and Tom McDevon dated before he and Lila did, remaining close until his engagement. His choice of the beautiful but shallow Lila over the considerably more compatible Laura seems like a cop-out, motivated by Lila’s wealth and breeding more than true love. Still, duty (and a little hope) compels Laura to head out to the Hayes family’s coastal Maine compound so she can act as maid of honor for her former college roommate. Once there she is joined by six other members of her Yale class, who have conveniently paired off in monogamous couples, leaving Laura as the single Jew in a sea of WASPs. After an interminable rehearsal dinner all the pals, minus Lila, head out for a drunken frolic on a raft in the bay. The revelers somehow end up unmoored, and after swimming back to shore discover that Tom is missing. Worried that the gifted athlete might have gotten cold feet—or drowned—they all separate into pairs to look for him, choosing partners other than their usual mates. The rest of the night passes with drink-and-drug-fueled excesses, hook-ups and the usual personal revelations, as well as a ghostly sighting. Laura, who never really explains why she has remained friends with this gossipy crew, also fights off the advances of Lila’s younger brother Chip and makes a discovery about Tom that changes everything.
Niederhoffer’s follow-up to the clever A Taxonomy of Barnacles (2005), while gracefully written, never soars above the dislikable characters and the dated depiction of blue-blood customs.