Sunday, 5 December 2010

Movie Review: Valentine's Day (2010)


A collection of intermingled short stories so lightweight they are blown away by the February winds into instantly forgettable lands, despite the massive ensemble cast.

With too many loosely connected stories, too many characters, and hardly enough time dedicated to anything or anyone, Valentine's Day degenerates into a brisk but irrelevant game of "spot the star". Although almost every role is played by a recognizable face, director Garry Marshall fails miserably to inject soul into any of them.

The events take place during the course of a single Valentine's Day in Los Angeles, as lovers and wannabe lovers navigate their way through the day of supposed romance. The most developed relationships revolve around florist Ashton Kutcher proposing to girlfriend Jessica Alba, who first says yes then says no, while Kutcher's best friend and school teacher Jennifer Garner thinks she's in love with doctor Patrick Dempsey, who hasn't told her that he's actually married. One of Garner's students, a young boy, is using hard-earned dollars to send flowers to his mystery Valentine using Kutcher's florist services, but everything goes wrong with the delivery.

Receptionist Anne Hathaway is dating mailroom clerk Topher Grace while she also moonlights as a phone-sex operator. Hathaway works for sports agent Queen Latifa, who represents football quarterback Eric Dane, who is contemplating retirement with the help of his publicist Jessica Biel, who is maybe interested in television sports reporter Jaime Foxx, who is annoyed that his producer Kathy Bates has sent him to the street to capture inane on-camera opinions about Valentine's Day.

Meanwhile Julia Roberts is a soldier on a short leave, traveling on a plane heading for a rendezvous with a person only revealed in the final scene. During her long flight she befriends Bradley Cooper, also on his way to meet a lover that we will only meet late.

Unbelievably, there are more characters and more stories nipping in and out of the movie, including teenage lovers, long-married grandparents, and Taylor Swift, who appears from nowhere, for no good reason, and does nothing. It's impossible to keep up, or to care.

It's also difficult to fathom what the purpose of the exercise is, other than for every star to work for a couple of days in-between other projects, and cash a juicy cheque at the expense of bewildered moviegoers.






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