Director: Garry Marshall
Cast: Julia Roberts, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Biel, Jessica Alba, Jennifer Garner, Shirley MacLaine, Bradley Cooper, Ashton Kutcher, Topher Grace, Emma Roberts, Hector Elizondo, Eric Dane, Patrick Dempsey, Jamie Foxx, Queen Latifah, Carter Jenkins
RunTime: 2 hrs 5 mins
Released By: Warner Bros
Official Website: http://www.valentinesdaymovie.com/
Opening Day: 11 February 2010
all-star ensemble cast comes together in Valentine's Day,
following the intertwining storylines of a group of Los Angelinos
as they find their way through romance over the course of
one Valentine's Day.
bevy of Hollywood stars turn up for Garry Marshall’s
“Valentine’s Day”, set in and around Los
Angeles on- yes, you’ve guessed it- Valentine’s
Day. There are at least 15 different characters in the movie,
each played by someone you’d heard of or would probably
recognize from this or that movie once they appear onscreen.
Indeed, Marshall deserves credit alone for marshal-ling (pardon
the pun) so many Hollywood stars together in this picture.
It would be better though if he actually knew what to do with
them. Possessing the attention span of a child, “Valentine’s
Day” criss-crosses back and forth among its various
characters and their mostly independent stories of love, before
finding some implausible reason to show how they are actually
At the centre of the movie are florist Reed Bennett (Ashton
Kutcher) and his best friend, Julia (Jennifer Garner). Reed
has just proposed to his girlfriend Morley (Jessica Alba);
and Julia is seeing a doctor (Patrick Dempsey) who’s
supposedly divorced. Needless to say, neither story is that
simple, so before the day ends, both Reed and Julia will go
through some ups and downs before- gasp!- realising who they
truly love in their hearts.
Acknowledging the wafer-thin nature of their romance, screenwriter
Katherine Fugate (from a story by herself, Abby Kohn and Marc
Silverstein) adds in not one, not two, but six other stories.
But it ain’t the quantity that matters, and one soon
realises that despite the cornucopia of characters, not one
of them succeed in making this Hollywood product less bland
and shallow than it is.
In typical Hollywood caricature fashion, there’s the
cynical duo (Jamie Foxx and Jessica Biel) who will eventually
fall in love; the misunderstood duo (Topher Grace and Anne
Hathaway) who will discover how much they actually love each
other; the graduating high-school couple (Emma Roberts and
Carter Jenkins) who want to seal their relationship with a
lasting bond before heading off to different universities;
and not forgetting the random strangers (Bradley Cooper and
Julia Roberts) who meet on a plane and click almost immediately.
If there was no creativity in constructing characters we care
about, so too is there no originality in crafting stories
that we would be interested in. Yes, we’d know going
into a movie like “Valentine’s Day” that
we’d get our requisite happy endings, but the journey
to that rainbow is too straightforward to be anything but
engaging. Despite Marshall’s best efforts at keeping
the movie’s pace lively, he is let down by a script
that is content to recycle and condense Hollywood’s
formula for rom-coms into one single movie.
Given the number of them that appear in this movie, it’s
not surprising that none of the actors are given enough screen
time to allow us to connect with their characters. Besides
the overcrowding, their characters are also too contrived
for any of the talents to shine in their respective roles.
In fact, the one performer who does steal the show is country
singer Taylor Swift, who in her debut movie appearance hams
it up as a ditzy high-schooler gushing with love for her jock
boyfriend (played by ex-beau Taylor Lautner).
Though it may seem like a perfect idea to get a whole assembly
of Hollywood’s stalwart rom-com stars in one movie,
“Valentine’s Day” falls way short of being
that ideal date movie you were looking for on Valentine’s
Day. It is too lightweight and fluffy to have anything significant
to say about love; but ends up too bloated with its sheer
number of stories and characters. Indeed, if commercialisation
were an oft-mentioned bane of Valentine’s Day today,
this Hollywood candy-confectionery product made to cash in
on the occasion would be an ideal example- and this is something
both romantics and cynics would agree.
(It’s about a day in the life of love- and true
to that description, it is just as insignificant even as a
typical Hollywood fluffy rom-com)
Review by Gabriel Chong