Movies like Valentine's Day believe there are only two types of people in this world: Those who absolutely adore the holiday and revel in it; and those who flat out despise it. There's never any in-between. You can't be a person in a relationship who thinks the holiday is a bit excessive and unnecessary. Nor can you be a single person who likes the emotion the holiday creates in others.
All of the seemingly endless amount of characters in Valentine's Day fit into a certain romantic formula we've seen before, trampled into bite sized nuggets for easy consumption. Ashton Kutcher is our gateway into the numerous romantic entanglements that the film tries to spotlight. He's a flower shop owner, recently engaged to his aloof girlfriend(Jessica Alba). Jennifer Garner is his seemingly perfect best friend. Do you smell a triangle afoot? I'm sure you do. The rest of the stories leave a lot to be desired. The most interesting thing about them are the people involved.
This has to be the greatest assemblage of talent ever in one single film. Kutcher, Alba, Garner, Jamie Foxx, Jessica Alba, Anne Hathaway, Bradley Cooper, and even Julia Roberts does her old Pretty Woman director Garry Marshall a solid by playing an army Captain journeying home. That's only a fraction of the stars involved. I'm trying to figure out how they kept the budget at a paltry(by Hollywood standards) $50M? Did they only serve chicken nuggets and snack wraps during lunch breaks? With all that talent comes the extreme gap in potential and reality. That's a metric ton of wasted star power. When George Lopez, who has about 5 minutes of screen time, is the comedic highlight, you know there's an issue. The Taylors(Swift and Lautner) provide a few laughs.One of which is even intentional.
If Garry Marshall wanted to make Love Actually, he should've held Richard Curtis hostage. This is clearly his attempt to make a sanitized American version of the film. In more than instance, it's almost like he lifts whole ideas from that brilliant, Brit romance from 2003. We get the little kid and his first love; we get people running through airports valiantly; this one lacks a catchy theme song, though. Theme songs make everything better. But unlike Love Actually, we never really get to know any of the people in this story. There's just too much going on.
One thing Marshall gets right, is leaving a it of mystery surrounding a couple of the lesser developed characters. We're sorta left wondering who some of these people are really in love with, who they are spending their holiday with. And there are some genuine surprises in that regard. If they would've cut out half of the pointless, dead end stories(Queen Latifah as a sassy sports agent? ugh.)there could be something worth latching on to.
Valentine's Day is a movie for a certain type of person. You probably already know if you want to see it or not, and there's probably a space reserved for it next to your copy of He's Just Not that Into You. If you are one of these people, you're going to love this film. If you're a guy and this applies to you, then all hope is lost and we're revoking your Y Chromosome immediately.