Valentine’s Day – A Review

16 02 2010

I’m not sure how he did it – or why they did, but film director Garry Marshall pulled together an incredibly star-studded cast for his over-the-top, unabashed celebration of all things love, Valentine’s Day

The romantic comedy features four Oscar winners (Kathy Bates, Jamie Foxx, Shirley MacLaine, and Julia Roberts) and follows the intertwining storylines of a mix of Los Angeles residents as they find love, lose love and want love on February 14.  At the centre of all the stories is the relationship between florist Reed (Ashton Kutcher) and his school teacher best friend, Julia (Jennifer Garner).  You can already see where this is headed can’t you?

But don’t expect it to be that simple.  She’s in love with a doctor (Patrick Dempsey); who is really a two-timing rat, and he’s just had his marriage proposal accepted by career-driven girlfriend, Morley (Jessica Alba); a surprise for everyone involved including Morley herself. 

There are all the usual clichés – dozens of red roses, boxes of chocolates, over-sized stuffed toys, and cheesy love tidbits – that are so saccharin you’ll need to see the dentist, but unfortunately few laugh-worthy moments in this film.  Those moments are delivered when sports journalist Kelvin (Foxx) is assigned to finding Valentine’s Day fluff pieces, and Liz (Anne Hathaway) pretending to be a receptionist for her boyfriend’s sake, but moonlighting as a phone-sex operator.  But, it is entirely possible that, in the comedy stakes at least, country music superstar Taylor Swift (making her acting debut) as the ditzy student stands out with entirely cringe-worthy antics as she gushes over her boyfriend (ironically, Taylor Lautner).

It is true;  there is nothing mind blowing about the story of Valentine’s Day.  In fact, I suspect the story was so flimsy to begin with there had to be multiple storylines for it to be a viable project. Just in time for Valentine’s Day, if you must see it in cinemas, see if for what it is: light-hearted and a bit of fun.  I’m sure the cast had fun putting it all together – as evidenced in the out-takes at the end.

The Verdict: 2.5 out of 5

Directed by Garry Marshall; written by Katherine Fugate, Abby Kohn and Mark Silverstein; director of photography, Charles Minsky; editor, Bruce Green; music by John Debney; production designer, Albert Brenner; produced by Mike Karz and Wayne Rice; released by New Line Cinema.  Running time 2hrs 10 minutes.

WITH: Jessica Alba, Kathy Bates, Jessica Biel, Bradley Cooper, Eric Dane, Patrick Dempsey, Hector Elizondo, Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Garner, Topher Grace, Anne Hathaway, Carter Jenkins, Ashton Kutcher, Queen Latifah, Taylor Lautner, George Lopez, Shirley MacLaine, Emma Roberts, Julia Roberts, Bryce Robinson, Taylor Swift.

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