Valentine's Day Movie Review
How many big-name actors does it take to guarantee a movie cannot be very good? The answer is in Valentine's Day, though you can have the privilege of counting the recognizable faces who decided to cash it in for a complete waste of time. Among them are Ashton Kutcher, Jessica Alba, Kathy Bates, Jessica Biel, Bradley Cooper, Patrick Dempsey, Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Garner, Topher Grace, Anne Hatahway, Queen Latifah, Taylor Swift, Taylor Lautner, Emma Roberts and Julia Roberts. Please come back in ten minutes after I've rested.
Valentine's Day is an ensemble romantic comedy that made so much money on February 14 of this year that plans are already in the works to do other holiday-themed movies such as New Year's Eve and Boxing Day. Needless to say, the movie was popular if only because women, so desperate for sappy, fake romance, are willing to ignore their otherwise sound judgment and get their boyfriends or husbands to waste $20 to waste two hours of their lives.
In all honesty, Valentine's Day isn't that bad; it's just so mediocre it's embarrassing to think that someone actually wrote this thing. There are so many storylines going on at once that it's simply impossible to develop any of them, or their characters, to the degree that actually makes us want to care. Not care, but want to care. Valentine's Day doesn't even get to the point where it makes the audience consider having feelings for the people on screen.
Directed by Garry Marshall, Valentine's Day is a movie that is hard to figure out. The relationships are too light and absurd to take seriously, and yet the movie is rarely funny. Often where there is a blatant joke, the joke falls flat. How are we supposed to react to a relationship between Topher Grace and Anne Hathaway, the latter of whom has men calling her up all hours of the day for phone sex? Are we supposed to be amused by Hathaway's mailed-in performance and dreadful accents? Are we supposed to root for the couple to remain together? Are we supposed to give a damn?
Most painful is the Taylor Lautner/Taylor Swift pairing. I'd like to give Lautner the benefit of the doubt as he seemed fine in the first Twilight movie, but his performances since have been absolutely terrible. He is by far the worst actor in the movie, and Swift isn't too far behind him. Granted, Marshall and screenwriter Katherine Fugate (who, sadly, has been hired to write the quasi-sequel New Year's Day) give the two young lovers an absolutely dreadful story; their attempts to draw laughs only cause involuntary cringing to occur.
Valentine's Day does have its moments, and it succeeds by being consistently passable. Its sheer lack of originality on edge make it impossible to completely fall apart at the seams, but I question why mediocre is acceptable or desired. Women, they're going to continue making movies like this until you say, with your wallets (or your boyfriends'), that you've had enough. And Valentine's Day is more than enough.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.