Everyone gets that gushy feeling around Valentine’s Day, whether it is because of a special significant other or because of an overwhelming urge to hurl at the sight of red and pink hearts. Newly-released Valentine’s Day reflects upon what can make a single day of the year either the most magical or most miserable day of one’s life.
Despite the horrible reviews the movie has gotten, I (along with the many others who brought the movie $56.5 million in its opening weekend) decided to judge for myself exactly what 15 of Hollywood’s top actors could do. Unfortunately, the reviews that I read were almost right, albeit a little exaggerated.
Valentine’s Day centers on Reed Bennett (Ashton Kutcher), the love-struck owner of a florist shop who proposes to his girlfriend Morley (Jessica Alba). From this couple, the story branches out in a way so that all the characters can be connected to one another, much like last year’s He’s Just Not That Into You.
Bennett’s best friend Julia (Jennifer Garner) is enamored with her new boyfriend Harrison (Patrick Dempsey), but unknown to her, she is the “other woman” as the doctor is still married to his wife of 15 years. Garner’s girl pal Kara (Jessica Biel) is the epitome of the anti-Valentine’s day moment, even celebrating with her own annual smash-the-heart-piñata type of party. Always knocking at Kara’s door is the “number two” sports journalist Kelvin (Jamie Foxx), who is stuck interviewing people on the street about Valentine’s Day when he just wants an interview with the football player Sean Jackson (Eric Dane).
Jackson, whose publicist in the movie is Kara, is on-the-fence about what to do in his career after what is hinted at as a break-up with his significant other. Jackson’s agent Paula (Queen Latifah) is a comedic and fiery anti-Valentine’s Day gal—one of the few characters I wish had more screen-time in the movie.
Paula’s secretary Liz (Anne Hathaway) just started dating a cute new guy (Topher Grace), but is afraid of what he will think of the job she holds on the side. Veteran couple Edgar and Estelle (Hector Elizondo and Shirley MacLaine, respectively) hit a bump in their Valentine’s Day plans when Estelle reveals a secret that has been kept for 40 years. The plot even makes its way down to the high school level with Taylor Swift and Taylor Lautner playing the disgusting couple that helps to define why America is scared of today’s youth.
Despite the movie’s star cast, the whole thing felt a little forced to me. The formula should be simple here: great cast plus a holiday everyone loves to hate should yield a funny (or at least, entertaining) movie. Unfortunately, something in the equation fell short. That’s not to say that there weren’t some laugh-out-loud moments, but overall, the movie felt like it worked its way up to a climax at the credits. There was no resolution and so many story lines to follow that none of them were truly developed; the saying that less-is-more would definitely apply in this case. There are just too many characters, too many clichés, and too many unrealistic scenarios to give the movie any real substance.
This all being said, everyone and his mother are likely to go see this movie in hopes of proving the critics wrong (or, in the case of the teeny-boppers seated behind me, in hopes of seeing the werewolf from Twilight take his shirt off). Overall, Valentine’s Day suffers from poor writing, poor acting, and a severe lack of cynicism that I was hoping to see prevalent in the film; on the bright side, however, it did provide a great laugh for my boyfriend and me in discussing exactly how horrible it was.