I Hate Valentine's Day (released 2009)

Greg and Genevieve in front of Greg's new restaurant - scene from the movie "I Hate Valentine's Day".
Greg and Genevieve in front of Greg's new restaurant - scene from the movie "I Hate Valentine's Day".

Movie Review

This lighthearted romantic-comedy, I Hate Valentine's Day (released 2009) was directed and written by Nia Vardalos, who also has the starring role as the florist Genevieve Gernier. Most movie buffs know Nia Vardalos for her excellent comedic acting and starring roles in My Life in Ruins , and My Big Fat Greek Wedding. She has become a favorite comedienne of ours.

I Hate Valentine's Day did not have the comedy plot I was expecting, instead this movie explored the serious issue of dating and the holiday Valentine's Day nonconventionally before delivering the conservative expected happy ending that romantic-comedies are known to bestow their viewers. Definitely this film was true in script to the standard romantic-comedy genre format with an interesting modern twisted plot. It did have a few rough sections in the plot that possibly could have been edited better, but over-all, I found this movie appealing. My husband (the predominately Western genre movie viewer) suffered through the entire movie. He was very proud of himself considering this was for our quality time together and not really his type of film being more of a "chic flick". My husband did, however, admit that the ending of I Hate Valentine's Day was "great". He mentioned that he "could see a guy doing that in order to get a girl."

I Hate Valentine's Day begins the day before Valentine's Day at a local florist shop in Manhattan, a suburb of New York City, New York. The florist is a vibrant single woman in her thirties who has decided to use a five dates only system that prevents her from becoming hurt whiledating some one. This system of Genevieve Gernier's prevents her (or any one) from getting wrong impressions or expectations while dating one another. Genevieve truly believes this and is determined to be a modern woman of the twenty-first century. Her friends admire her five dates only method for dating; find it refreshing and workable. These friends further regard Genevieve as a dating guru, some one who has all the answers for how to date without getting your heart trounced. They seek out her advice when they meet some one they are attracted to and want to get to know. They practically run for Genevieve's advice on Valentine's Day which to them is the most infuriatingly frustrating day of the year. Genevieve feels her life is smoothly sailing in the direction of her choosing and her favorite time of year is Valentine's Day which happens to be the day she sells the most floral arrangements at her floral shop. A great day for business.

The next day, during this particular Valentine's Day, Genevieve meets a handsome conservative bachelor, Greg Gatlin (John Corbett, also starred in My Big Fat Greek Wedding ) who is new to their section of Manhattan. Greg has opened a new restaurant where others before have not been able to make it (the locals think the spot is cursed against restaurants). Greg's sole reason for entering Genevieve's floral shop is to purchase some flowers for who he honestly regards as his girlfriend. Genevieve is very generous with her Valentine's Day gift advice while selling him a healthy sized bouquet of flowers. Her employees admire how well she "knows her stuff" about the appropriate flowers for holidays, especially Valentine's Day, as well as her expert ability to pedal the floral wares.

A few days pass before Genevieve visits Greg's new restaurant to talk to him about floral settings for his restaurant's ambiance. Genevieve quickly learns from this visit that Greg followed her Valentine's Day advise. He tried to surprise his girlfriend by sneaking into her place to give her the bouquet, but decided not to give the flowers when Greg found his girlfriend in bed with another man. Greg admits that after living such a catastrophic event that he does not liking Valentine's Day. Genevieve admits it is her favorite day of the year and tries to cheer him up with the sage words about finding another to date that could lead to whatever relationship Greg desires. Greg, grateful for her sincere words and kindness, decides to hire her floral shop to supply the flowers for his restaurant. He wants to do all he can to make his new restaurant a success.

Greg and Genevieve go back and forth by doing each other friendly good deeds as acquaintances before Greg gets enough nerve to ask Genevieve out on a date. This is where he learns about her five dates only system that Genevieve feels is foolproof and best method to prevent either party involved to formulate any expectations or level of commitment. She believes in the date a man five times, and then move on approach. Greg, being from Alabama, finds this a peculiar approach for dating as well as extremely unconventional, but decides after all the heartbreak he has received from other New York women that this new method for dating might help him heal so agrees to date Genevieve's way.

Like most romantic-comedies, the best laid plans plus agreements of Genevieve and Greg definitely go awry as they take their time having their five dates and get to know one another more than Genevieve had expected. She usually goes out on the five dates more quickly, in weeks instead of months. These dates with Greg become her most rewarding dates Genevieve has ever had with someone. She finds with each date the possibility of the moving on aspect difficult; almost unbearable, but bullheadedly sticks with ending seeing Greg after the fifth date. That is until Greg messes up the count and stops seeing her on the fourth date, by her count. Greg and her friends count five dates. Genevieve becomes very upset, downright morose over the misunderstanding. Fortunately, she has many well intentioned friends who take it upon themselves to help Greg win Genevieve by bestowing Greg with their advice on how to win Genevieve's heart. They decide Greg is the best thing that has entered Genevieve's life. They are determined to not allow Genevieve to mess up her once in a life time opportunity for true love and happiness. Greg uncertain her friends are steering him correctly, but could not help falling for Genevieve, cooperates. The rest of the film is about how her friends and Greg finally get Genevieve to see she is capable of falling in love and that Greg is the right man for her to have a committed relationship with which boils the plot into the standard happy ending on the following Valentine's Day, 13 months after they met. Yes, Greg asks her to marry him in a very unusual and public way, definitely out of his comfort zone, but downright irresistible in delivery.

Rest of primary cast (listed in order given by credits): Stephen Guarino (Bill, Greg's closest New Yorker and lawyer friend who does not listen to anything Greg says), Amir Arison (Bob, employee of florist shop), Zoe Kazan (Tammy Greenwood, friend of Genevieve), Gary Wilmes (Cal), Mike Starr (John, local diner's owner, friend to Genevieve and Genevieve's mother's love interest), Jason Mantzoukas (Brian Blowdell), Judah Friedlander (Dan O'Finn, Genevieve's friend), Rachel Dratch (Kathy Jeemy, Genevieve's friend), Jay O. Sanders (Tim, the delivery guy who is married and has a business relationship with Genevieve's floral shop), Lynda Gravatt (Rose Gernier, Genevieve's mom), Olive (Rose's apartment dog), Suzanne Shepherd (Edie), and John Tormey (Moe Gernier, Genevieve's father).

I Hate Valentine's Day is rated PG-13 and 1 hour 29 minutes in length. This movie is great to watch any time of the year, not just a Valentine's Day movie. Does deal with adult subject matter and a few scenes are definitely the reason for the PG-13 rating. Parental discretion advised for the teenager in the house who might want to watch it with you. Do recommend if you like thelight, rompy yet fun romantic-comedy genre; definitely was not meant to be taken seriously. Highly recommend for all Nia Vardalos and John Corbett fans! This is one movie these fans will want to place on their "must see" list.

Enjoy!

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