Every year around February 14, we are introduced to a new film about love. In an effort to save tradition, this season’s montage flick, rightfully titled Valentine’s Day, revisits this subject in an effort to re-instill the notion that love is true, difficult, and well worth the heartache. Well known actor-turned-director Gary Marshall, director of Pretty Woman all those years ago, brings us a tale of love through the eyes of Los Angeles’ most beautiful people as they cope with the pressures of Valentine’s Day. Through the span of 24 chocolate-dipped hours the audience is meant to embrace the holiday in its entirety to hopefully understand the true meaning of the love day.
To the American public Valentine’s Day is the culmination of happiness and joy where every person is for a moment deserving of unconditional love. Throughout this film, we are given dozens of circumstances in which several highschool to senior couples deal with their various version of love. As the film opens, we are taken into the lives of almost two dozen characters as we uncover one connection after another. For starters, Marshall manages to create a scenario where a fifth grade student confesses his love for his teacher, who finds out her doctor boyfriend is married for fifteen years when best friend, a florist dealing with a refused engagement, reveals the truth about two sets of flower orders. Marshall makes a valiant effort to squeeze every bit of sentimental goo out of the cast in order to make one of the sappiest yet unromantic films about love to date.
Although Valentine’s Day does manages to employ several notable actors, including Julia Roberts, Jamie Foxx, and the legendary Shirley MacLaine, the film falls completely flat. Besides the radiant beauty of the stars, this film has absolutely no other redeeming qualities. Although most of these actors are at least watchable, Taylor Swift is by far a favorite for holding back a gag reflex. Known as the cute country singer/songwriter, Swift is far too concerned with her persona to deliver even a single line of honesty. Although her blond hair flip and dance moves are indeed epic, the real moment of joy comes when not only do we have the pleasure of watching the starlette, but listening to her music subtly played in the background. Complete with poor writing, sloppy editing and uncommitted performances, we are graced with a lazyily thrown together film that marginalizes any genuinely affecting notions we may hold about true love.
Marshall’s aim of generating a touching and enchanting film about the elusive holiday comes to an ever-eerie halt once the characters begin to speak. When overpaid actors in a high budget film are met with a menial actor-turned-even-worse-director, the result is a film like Valentines Day. The only truth in the entire film comes from a few four legged friends who at least have the decency to portray the only honest moment in the entire flick. The only way this film works as "the perfect date movie," is if the date is so captivating that the film becomes nothing more then background noise.
Starring: Julia Roberts, Jessica Alba, Jessica Biel, Bradley Cooper, Ashton Kutcher, Jamie Foxx, Anne Hathaway, Topher Grace, Shirley MacLaine, Hector Elizondo, Jennifer Garner, Patrick Dempsey, Eric Dane, Emma Roberts, Taylor Swift, Taylor Lautner, Queen Latifah, Carter Jenkins, George Lopez, Kathy Bates
Director: Garry Marshall
Runtime: 125 Minutes
Distributor: Warner Bros.