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Movie Review: Valentines Day Should Be More Memorable Than This
Director: Garry Marshall
Cast: Jennifer Garner, Anne Hathaway, Ashton Kutcher, Julia Roberts, Emma Roberts, Taylor Lautner, Taylor Swift, George Lopez, Patrick Dempsey, Topher Grace, Jessica Biel, Jamie Fox, Hector Elizondo, Shirley Maclaine, Jessica Alba, Kathy Bates, Eric Dane, Bradley Cooper, Queen Latifah, Carter Jenkins (Phew, let me catch my breath!)
Set in Los Angeles during the titular holiday, the movie stars an all-star cast of characters and details their misadventures with the ones they love on Valentine's Day.
Disclaimer: Possible spoilers ahead? Maybe?
What's Good About The Movie?:
Taylor Swift actually got a few laughs as the ditzy blonde Felicia. She has one brief but hilarious scene with Jennifer Garner in an elevator, and I couldn't help but smile when a tv reporter came to interview her at her school. The segment involving Bradley Cooper and Julia Roberts taking a plane ride back to L.A. together seem to be the most genuine subplot (although I just couldn't buy into Roberts as a Military colonel), and there is a twist involving the Roberts character that, I have to admit, did surprise me and was kind of sweet.
There are a few very funny scenes sprinkled throughout the movie. Some of the best laughs came from Anne Hathaway, who plays a PR assistant who moonlights as an adult phone entertainer. And much to my surprise, this is one of the few movies where Ashton Kutcher didn't annoy me. He actually manages to make his character Reed into a sincerely likable fellow.
What's Bad About The Movie?:
How much plot can you cram into a two hour rom com?
There are so many different characters, stories and plot complications that it seems pointless to try and detail them all here. Garry Marshall doesn't find the right rhythm for the movie to unfold; some stories are given only slight development, while others are not given any at all. The romance between Taylor Swift and Taylor Lautner, for example, doesn't seem to have any point to it at all. There's no conflict nor any development in their relationship; it is completely useless. Take out that segment, and Marshall would've had more time to develop the other, more conflict driven narratives.
Even if he had done so, the material here is so phony and contrived that they seem more appropriate for a tv sitcom than a feature length movie. Take the segment involving high school student Grace (Emma Roberts) who plans to have sex for the first time with her boyfriend Alex (Carter Jenkins). He is suppose to meet her at her place while her parents are away. He goes into her room, drops a bunch of red roses around her bed, strips butt naked and starts playing the guitar. Who better to show up "just for a minute," at that particular moment, than Grace's mother? She'll walk in on him, and he'll give her an excuse that no sensible parent would ever believe.
There are other plot elements that are so formulaic that you can see how they'll turn out right from the start. Jennifer Garner plays a school teacher who is dating a man (Patrick Dempsey) she doesn't know is married with kids. Ashton Kutcher is her best friend, who proposed to his long-time girlfriend (Jessica Alba) the moment she woke up, and although she initially said yes, she changes her mind at the last minute and leaves him. Will Garner and Kutcher ever find true love? Of course they will, and if you can't figure out with who, then I don't know what to do for you.
I got a better one for you. Anne Hathaway is dating a man who doesn't know that she provides phone sex. Of course, he'll find out, storm off in a fit of rage, see the error of his ways, and meet her at her apartment, where they'll make up and make out. There is no chemistry between the two of them, so it's really difficult to care one way or another about the outcome of that story.
And there certainly isn't any chemistry between Jamie Fox's "second best" sports reporter Kelvin and Jessica Biel's love sick publicist Kara. In fact, their relationship is so ill-defined that when they do kiss in the end, the only logical response would be "Whoa, where did that come from?"
Despite some decent performances and a couple of fleeting laughs, "Valentine's Day" is not a fun movie to watch. It's silly, predictable, and instantly disposable. I know many will be looking for a good romantic movie what with Valentine's Day around the corner, but trust me, you can do a whole lot better than this.
Final Grade: ** (out of ****)