Valentine’s Day

Feels Like a Rash

         
 

12 February 2010| No Comments     by Sean Chavel

 

Right off the bat the problem with Valentine’s Day, other than there are too many characters than the film can handle, is that there seems to be more storylines of jilted love than there are stories of actual love running through its intersections. Talk about traffic overload. In a movie loaded with stars, you stop counting smooches and start counting how many limited minutes each actor has in the film.

For the guys, Ashton Kutcher seems to be running through most of the intersections – popping in and out of other member’s storylines – perhaps because he is the supreme florist of Los Angeles and on Valentine’s Day everybody needs, duh, flowers. If Kutcher is the coach, then the guys on the bench include Bradley Cooper, Eric Dane, Patrick Dempsey, Hector Elizondo, Jamie Foxx, Topher Grace, Taylor Lautner, and George Lopez. Watch out – one of these guys is an irredeemable slimeball (I guessed correctly within four and a half minutes into the film). And then one of these actors makes a surprise coming out announcement that he is gay. Somehow this kind of announcement is becoming obligatory in large-ensemble romantic comedies.

For the pink team, Kathy Bates never once gets a Valentine but she’s definitely a coach for at least two characters. On the bench the roster includes Jessica Alba, Jessica Biel, Jennifer Garner, Anne Hathaway, Queen Latifah, Shirley MacLaine, Emma Roberts, Julia Roberts and Taylor Swift as an airhead (duh, perfect casting). The rest of these girls are playing hopeless romantics, commitment-phobes or possess some kind of reputation-affecting secret – one of them for instance is an adult phone sex operator who speaks in lots of pseudo-sexy crooked accents.

There are no milestones in this rather cookie-cutter romantic comedy that just happens to be a bigger, puffier cookie made without any magical addicting ingredients. Except that one character must set a record for fastest roundtrip flight from Los Angeles to San Francisco and back again in order to spite a cheater in the nick of time. Bradley Cooper and Julia Roberts must have both underwent Hollywood’s easiest film shoot with their participation, playing seatmates on an airplane. Then you have a competition as to whether any of the girls are more neurotic than Topher Grace. But I see here that this is no longer a discussion about milestones.

As if the standard generic story treatment for an all-star cast isn’t enough of a letdown, how about further lousy news that Los Angeles seems to have been photographed through a smog filter. Romantic comedies should be photographed in bright and glossy colors, and in not in such the muggy processed look that this film has been given.

Still the Cupid inside me wants to go out of the way to give out MVP honors to Jamie Foxx as the coolest dude in the cast this time playing a TV reporter, and Jennifer Garner as a Miss Old-Fashioned type looking very adorable as a grade school teacher. Confession: I like looking at Anne Hathaway in just about anything.

But let’s get to some generic and bland audience demographics. The girls will enjoy this film certainly more than the boys who will want to go off and watch sports somewhere. Let’s just not compare this to the ultimate Valentine-ensemble “Love Actually” (2003). That’s a movie for everybody.

125 Minutes. Rated PG-13.

ROMANTIC COMEDY / MULTI-ENSEMBLE CASTS / CHEESY COMEDY 

Film Cousins: “California Suite” (1978); “Playing By Heart” (1998); “Love Actually” (2003); “He’s Just Not That Into You” (2009).

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Sean Chavel

About The Author / Sean Chavel

Sean Chavel is a Hollywood based author and movie reviewer. He is the Executive Director of flickminute.com, a new website that has adapted the movie review site genre by introducing moodbased and movie experience based reviews.

 

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