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Genre: Comedy/Romance
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
Rating: PG
(Sexual References)
Official Website: http://www.valentinesdaymovie.com/

Opening Day: 11 February 2010


An 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.

Movie Review:

A 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 intertwined.

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.

Movie Rating:

(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


. I Hate Valentine's Day (2009)

. (500) Days of Summer (2009)

. He's Just Not That Into You (2009)

. Sex And The City (2008)

. Music & Lyrics (2007)

. Lucky You (2007)

. The Break Up (2006)

. Friends With Money (2006)


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