Valentine’s Day – Film Review

Posted on 12. Feb, 2010 by Administrator in Film/TV

by Todd Gilchrist

The new romantic comedy Valentine’s Day has everything – that is, except for characters and a plot. Overstuffed with star wattage and storytelling clichés but not one single idea of substance, Gary Marshall’s film only needed to be this February’s He’s Just Not That Into You, and it couldn’t even be that. Rather, it’s an updated ‘70s disaster movie where the central event is stupidity, and all of the actors in it are helpless to resist since one imagines their paychecks are at the bottom of that black, bleak hole.

Jessica Alba and Ashton Kutcher in Valentine's Day

Seriously, though, it truly does have more marquee names than three Ocean’s films: Ashton Kutcher, Jennifer Garner, Julia Roberts, Bradley Cooper, Anne Hathaway, Queen Latifah, Jamie Foxx, Topher Grace, Jessicas Biel and Alba, Taylors Lautner and Swift, and Shirley MacLaine are only some of the people who appear in its tapestry of romantic vignettes. Unfortunately, they have nothing to do but be themselves, or occasionally, cardboard cutouts of actual people with real problems. The plot, as it were follows each of these people through their February 14th, as they find, lose, discover and recover relationships, thankfully resolving all loose ends by the time Marshall offers a cathartic gag reel over the closing credits.

To say that screenwriter Katherine Fugate knows or cares nothing about the way people actually behave is an understatement, and if she knows people who do actually behave this way, then she needs to meet some new people. But to dismiss an event rom-com like this as pure wish-fulfillment fluff is just cinematic negligence; seven years ago Richard Curtis set the standard for mainstream ensemble relationship movies with Love Actually, to which this film owes an enormous debt, if not a Writer’s Guild story credit, and there’s just no excuse for such lazy, uninspired, and uninspiring storytelling as what’s on display here.

Anne Hathaway and Topher Grace in Valentine's Day

Additionally, the inevitable success of Valentine’s Day by doofuses who think this constitutes entertainment, much less introspection on the subject of relationships, is what will no doubt vindicate the filmmakers. And, of course, beget more epic pieces of crap where all character details are communicated through dialogue rather than action, problems occur because the laws of nature bend themselves around reality to make things mess up, and resolutions fully solve any and all problems forever and ever. But then again, maybe that’s what some people want to see, or just to happen in their lives – idiotic drama paired with improbable solutions.

For my money, I’d prefer to see actual love. But in lieu of that, I’d gladly settle for Love Actually, rather than this tangled mess of movie stars in search of something to do.

Rating: star Valentine’s Day – Film Reviewhalfstar Valentine’s Day – Film Reviewblankstar Valentine’s Day – Film Reviewblankstar Valentine’s Day – Film Reviewblankstar Valentine’s Day – Film Review 1 1/2 Stars out of 5

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One Response to “Valentine’s Day – Film Review”

  1. Tim

    12. Feb, 2010

    Welcome to the bad film dumping ground known as February.

    Reply to this comment

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