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Thursday
Feb112010

Movie Review - 'Valentine's Day'

Valentine's Day

Starring Ashton Kutcher, Jennifer Garner, Anne Hathway, and Jessica Biel
Directed by Garry Marshall
Rated PG-13



vdayposter.jpg 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?

Cynically, Valentine’s Day can be seen as fuel to the age-old argument that the media places unrealistic expectations on the fickle nature of love; by presenting these stories where things work out in the end piled one on top of the other, audiences will accept it as the way things will always be. However, that’s probably a more cynical view of the audience, assuming it might not know the difference between fairy tales and reality.

This is, it should be pointed out, a movie that allows Ashton Kutcher’s talents to shine, so hopefully moviegoers primed for a romantic distraction recognize how far from reality this all is.

There are, of course, fantastic romantic comedies like Annie Hall and Amelie and The Princess Bride and last year's (500) Days of Summer, so it's not as though you can't find a worthwhile story with l-o-v-e at the center. Sadly, this film will outgross (500) Days by the end of its first weekend, because apparently people don't want to think about a love story so much as they just want to watch pretty people go through the motions and live happily ever after.

If that describes you, I'm discouraged, and may you never find out what happens after the credits roll.

Reader Comments (5)

But, but, Taylor Swift. Come on man, TAYLOR SWIFT! I mean she can't sing, so I figure we ought to at least pull for her acting "career."

Friday, February 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDale

WOW The Wolfman must be bad if this got more stars than it. Looks like a netflix weekend. Thanks Colin

Friday, February 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFreddie

Pardon my language, and I don't think I've said this before on the website (I won't take that to heart), but

FUCK THIS MOVIE AND EVERYTHING IT STANDS FOR.

Now I feel better.

Friday, February 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterVince

"and may you never find out what happens after the credits roll."

Brilliant!

Sunday, March 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRob

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