Starring Ashton Kutcher, Jennifer Garner, Anne Hathway, and Jessica Biel
It’s a bad sign when Ashton Kutcher is the best thing about a movie. Unfortunately for Valentine’s Day, his is the only story (of way too many) that does anything unexpected. Most of that, of course, is by design: It’s a movie called Valentine’s Day, released on Valentine’s Day weekend, and its focus is so narrowed on women that director Garry Marshall throws romantic comedy staples Julia Roberts, Anne Hathaway, and Jennifer Garner into the same exercise in phony Hollywood love-peddling with two hunky doctors from Grey’s Anatomy and Jessicas Alba and Biel. To ensure no double-X chromosome is left out of Marshall’s shameless panhandling, the older demo is served by Shirley MacLaine, and teens might pay to see the canoodling Taylors, Lautner and Swift. There’s also an interracial romance angle and a gay coupling, too, just so all the bases are covered. The trouble is, all the stories – except the one involving Kutcher, Alba, and Garner – are pretty much the same, if not in the details then certainly in the scope: Begin with happiness, experience sadness, find more happiness. Even though the list of cast members is almost as long as things that are wrong with the movie, it's difficult to know whether to accuse Valentine's Day of what is very obviously guerrilla marketing and almost nothing else or whether to praise it for at least going all out and admitting it will do anything for money, in the dim hope that this kind of prostitution will keep other studios from attempting the same thing a year from now. After all, Garry Marshall and company have left no stone unturned and if you can't find joy in this cheap, expressionless, mechanical romancectomy, what the hell's wrong with you?