Sunday, February 2, 2014

Valentine's Day (2010) [PG-13] ***

Valentine's Day defines the phrase lightweight ensemble romantic comedy. The film does for Valentine's Day what Love Actually did for Christmas. The film features a dozen plot threads: a married surgeon (Patrick Dempsey) has a girlfriend (Jennifer Garner) who is secretly attracted to her florist boss (Ashton Kutcher) who has just been rejected by his girlfriend (Jessica Alba); a young businessman (Topher Grace) discovers that his new girlfriend (Anne Hathaway) has a very unusual career; a sportscaster (Jamie Foxx) is asked by his producer (Kathy Bates) to do a fluff piece on Valentine's Day, during which he connects with the public relations rep (Jessica Biel) for an aging pro football quarterback (Eric Dane) who's just been cut by his team and is redefining his life; a businessman (Bradley Cooper), who is on an L.A.-bound flight, strikes up an acquaintance with an army officer (Julia Roberts) on a 24-hour leave; an aging couple (Hector Elizondo and Shirley MacLaine) reveal a disturbing truth about their marriage to one another; hyperkinetic teenage athletes (Taylor Lautner, Taylor Swift) and high school seniors (Carter Jenkins, Emma Roberts) want to have sex with each other before going their separate ways to college.

With so many plot threads there's not enough time to develop each of the characters, so each story is told in abbreviated form, with the result that the film's success depends on the viewer already being familiar with the story. The screenplay was written by Katherine Fugate (The Prince & Me) from a story by Fugate and the writing team of Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein (Never Been KissedHe's Just Not That Into You). Valentine's Day features well-worn story lines, distracting and superfluous subplots, clichéd relationships and uninspired dialogue. The common thread running through the stories is that opposites attract, and our reasons for forming a romantic bond are often illogical and irrational. Sadly, we don't spend enough time with most of the couples, so it's hard for us to connect with them, and in the end, we really don't care much about what happens to them. There are two exceptions: the first is the couple played by Topher Grace and Anne Hathaway, two people who couldn't be more different, but who are inexplicably attracted to one another; the second is the couple played by Ashton Kutcher and Jennifer Garner who start as friends and co-workers, but end with the potential to be much more. So if you like ensemble romantic comedies with an A-list cast, and you enjoyed Love Actually and He's Just Not That Into You, you will definitely enjoy Valentine’s Day

Labels: comedy, romance   
Internet Movie Database   
Metacritic 34/100    
RottenTomatoes Averages (critics=38, viewers=64)    

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