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Valentine's Day

A 2010 comedy movie directed by Garry Marshall.

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Love is Complicated

  • Mar 3, 2010
  • by
Gary Marshall's "Valentine's Day" is a romantic comedy with Attention Deficit Disorder, constantly shifting back and forth between stories, never staying on any one long enough for something meaningful to sink in. Just when we reach a genuinely charming moment, we cut to another subplot and find ourselves having to invest all over again before yet another cut to a different subplot, and it keeps going like this for just under two hours. It doesn't help that the film is essentially a showcase of stardom, every story featuring very famous people; you want to see them as their characters, but instead you're distracted by their celebrity. There are specific plotlines I enjoyed, and there are characters I found endearing. But on the whole, "Valentine's Day" is overlong, overstuffed, and overambitious.

There's no adequate way to describe every plotline, which is just as well since I doubt the average moviegoer would have the patience to keep track of them all. So then how can I describe this movie to you? Let's begin with the general idea: "Valentine's Day" is a collection of small narratives in which Los Angeles natives, whose stories all interconnect to some degree, go through the ups and downs of love and relationships on February 14. Probably the best place to start is with Reed Bennett (Ashton Kutcher), a florist who proposes to his girlfriend, Morley (Jessica Alba); for reasons he has yet to understand, everyone around him is surprised by this, including his friend, a schoolteacher named Julia (Jennifer Garner).

She's head over heels in love with a heart surgeon named Harrison Copeland (Patrick Dempsey), who, for lack of a better term, is quite good at juggling things. Julia's best friend is Kara (Jessica Biel), a publicist for football player Sean Jackson (Eric Dane), who at age thirty-five is ready to consider retiring. Kara becomes hopelessly neurotic every Valentine's Day due to her failure in the relationship department, and is once again organizing her annual I Hate Valentine's Day party. Strangely enough, this appeals to Kelvin Moore (Jaime Foxx), a sports reporter; on this particular day, he's on the streets covering Valentine's Day stories, although he would like nothing more than to stick to what he does best, and lo and behold, Sean Jackson is ready to make an announcement.

Sean's agent, the tough-talking Paula (Queen Latifah), has just hired a new receptionist. Her name is Liz (Anne Hathaway), a cash-strapped college student who earns extra money by moonlighting as ... something her new boyfriend, a mailroom clerk named Jason (Topher Grace), has trouble accepting because he's from Indiana and therefore likes simple things.

Meanwhile, Reed is supposed to make a delivery to one of Julia's students, a boy named Edison (Bryce Robinson), who claims to be in love and desperately wants to give a valentine to the girl of his dreams. This is a tough year for Edison because his mother isn't there, and he's now being raised by his grandparents, Edgar and Estelle (Hector Elizondo and Shirley MacLaine). They realize they're having problems of their own when Edison's babysitter, a high school student named Grace (Emma Roberts), confides to them that she and her boyfriend, Alex (Carter Jenkins), had planned to lose their virginity on Valentine's Day before she had a change of heart. Her friend, Felicia (Taylor Swift), seems infatuated with her boyfriend, Willy (Taylor Lautner), who sent her a gigantic white teddy bear as a Valentine's Day gift.

As it turns out, an interesting - if ultimately misleading - relationship is developing in the skies above; a businessman named Holden Bristow (Bradley Cooper) and a soldier named Kate Hazlitine (Julia Roberts) are on a plane headed for Los Angeles. While they have a pleasant enough conversation, and while they're both very nice, respectable people, they ultimately reveal little about what they're going back for and who they hope to meet once they arrive. Yes, something is at work here. No, it's not what you think it is.

Did you get all that? I told you there was no adequate way to describe every plotline. Sorting through this movie is mentally exhausting, and the fact that Marshall and writer Katherine Fugate didn't take this into account shows a serious lack of insight on their part.

If I had to pick one plotline that works best as far as performance, story, and characterization, it would have to be the one starring Julia Roberts and Bradley Cooper. The Ashton Kutcher/Jennifer Garner/Jessica Alba plotline is cute and somewhat appealing, but it's also conventional, following the rules of pretty much every romantic comedy ever made. The worst plotline is the one starring Bryce Robinson; never once did I believe that a boy that young could ever be so romantically inclined. And don't tell me that you had a boyfriend or girlfriend back in grade school - you and I both know romance doesn't exist before puberty. As for every other plotline, I can't say I responded to them, in large part because they kept interrupting each other. That, as well as moments of desperate physical comedy and obvious verbal gags, made "Valentine's Day" a tedious, unrewarding experience, one that left me wanting a dose of Ritalin.

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More Valentine's Day (movie) reviews
review by . February 17, 2010
This soulless slick piece of sickly-sweet cinematic candy somehow manages to embody everything that’s wrong with Hollywood, and America. Like the average American boob, it is a bloated corn-fed monstrosity obsessed with appearances and celebrity, devoid of introspection, and in search of anything—love, alcohol, chocolate, you name it—that will fill the hole where the soul used to be and stave off the negative feelings for a few more hours. I saw it the other night on a date; the …
review by . July 11, 2010
Leave it to Valentine's Day to get a movie filled with so many famous actors and actresses. The script is simple enough; numerous angelenos undergo a wide variety of experiences on the day of love, many of them tragic and revealing, some of them fulfilling, and all tangled together in ways unknown to the characters. Written as romance comedy, the movie is actually an interesting study of love and friendship, and what happens when people find out about things they were not meant to know. At first …
review by . June 18, 2010
This was a pretty good movie. I liked how the lives of the characters were woven together. I just wish it was a bit funnier.
review by . June 12, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
This movie is as advertised - a cute date movie, nothing more, nothing less. The acting, plots, and everything about the movie are shallow and mushy. That being said, it does work as something to watch with your significant other when you just want to feel good about your relationship. Recommended for that purpose alone - otherwise, this isn't anything special.
review by . April 12, 2010
"Valentine's Day"    Care for Diabetes with the Movie?    Amos Lassen    I do not know why anyone would want to see a movie that you know is going to be sweet to the point of syrup overload. I had a strong feeling that this was not going to be a good movie before I saw it but I watched it anyway. It seems as if half of Hollywood is in it but it still doesn't work. With all of the talent in the film, this should be a blockbuster but instead …
review by . February 24, 2010
Note: This is an experimental review that will intertwine the movie, the holiday and my own love life.  Let's just hope it makes sense.  Here goes...   ------------------------------------------------------------------      My review about Valentine’s Day, much like my paying of bills recently:  late but not forgotten.  I was on empty and had nothing to give, though my intent was always there.            …
About the reviewer
Chris Pandolfi ()
Ranked #5
Growing up a shy kid in a quiet suburb of Los Angeles, Chris Pandolfi knows all about the imagination. Pretend games were always the most fun for him, especially on the school playground; he and his … more
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About this movie


Valentine's Day is a 2010  American romantic comedy film directed by Garry Marshall. The screenplay was written by Katherine Fugate.  Starring Jessica Alba, Kathy Bates, Jessica Biel. Intertwining couples and singles in Los Angeles break-up and make-up based on the pressures and expectations of Valentine's Day.
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Director: Garry Marshall
Genre: Comedy
DVD Release Date: May 18, 2010
Runtime: 125 minutes
Studio: New Line Cinema
First to Review

"Eye Candy Corn"
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