Film Reviews

VALENTINE’S DAY

By • Feb 17th, 2010 •

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Makes you hate the day. Isn’t Garry Marshall (76) too old for a fluffy romantic comedy for teens? Lots of stars get paid for 3 days of easy work.

What is wrong with this movie? Where to begin? We will get to the director and stars later. Right now, we ask, was costume designer Gary Jones intentionally punishing the actresses? I’ve never seen such ugly clothes on stars. So awful, they are memorable.

VALENTINE’S DAY is a meager patchwork of little, meaningless stories about rather bland, uninteresting people. Who said “Yes” to this production? Didn’t anyone bother to read the script? Is Garry Marshall still a power player at 76?

Garry, retire already and enjoy your hard-earned wealth! This movie should have been steered by a young man who still has a sexual heartbeat.

VALENTINE’S DAY is an agent’s wet dream: Get all your clients in a big picture for a few days work, a paycheck, a premiere, and get some press while waiting for the starring movie to open. No one in this movie will take a hit except Taylor Swift, who is downright terrible.

I’m blaming Swift’s performance on the director. What happened to a contract stipulating an acting coach?

VALENTINE’S DAY takes place in Los Angeles where you would think everyone is eying stardom and knows how to dress. Instead we have lovesick florist Reed – in pink – (Ashton Kutcher) who, without a strong director, falls back into playing the WHERE’S MY CAR, DUDE? dude. I liked him in SPREAD, so why not do something like A SINGLE MAN? He could have played one of the hot, gay almost-pickups. (Ashton, don’t take career advice from Demi!)

Mushy Reed has a beautiful, soulful best friend Julia (Jennifer Garner). She is having an affair with Dr. Harrison Copeland (Patrick Dempsey). Julia doesn’t know he’s married! He’s the movie’s cad! Reed is shocked but overjoyed when his girlfriend Morley (Jessica Alba) accepts his engagement ring.

The only thing the fool did not do was get down on his knees at a Los Angeles Dodgers game to ask for her hand in marriage.

The only star of VALENTINE’S DAY is Edison (Bryce Robinson) who plays a fifth-grader in love.

Filling out the too-large cast are Reed’s best friend/employee, happily married Alphonso (George Lopez); sportscaster Kelvin (Jamie Foxx) and his TV producer Susan (Kathy Bates, in 2 quick scenes); older football star Sean Jackson (Eric Dane) and his publicist Kara (Jessica Biel); receptionist/sex voice entertainer Liz (Anne Hathaway) and her 2-week-old boyfriend Jason (Topher Grace). There are more cameos, but you get the idea.

Then there is Julia Roberts’ sullen, mysterious Army captain Kate, sitting on a plane next to Holden (Bradley Cooper). Dour Julia’s 2 scenes are out of place in the romantic romp of young shallow L.A. people. Her story does not ring true either. Hey! There are cell phones now to announce your pending arrival.

The over-hailed singer/phenomenon Taylor Swift is awful in her movie debut. Sometimes, a girl needs training and a little indie-movie cred. Her faux romance in the movie (and off-screen until the movie opens) with co-star Taylor Lautner, as a jock, is painful to watch.

Equally painful is the senior citizens romance of long-time married couple played by Shirley MacLaine and Hector Elizondo. Their storyline is just terrible. MacLaine should be ashamed of herself. I guess she needed the money.

Who wrote this mess? Well, three people took credit for the story: Katherine Fugate, Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein. Fugate tackled the screenplay herself. Who did an un-credited polish? Someone added a few very cute lines.

Not only is the directing at fault for being phony and horribly staged, the music by John Debney and photography by Charles Minsky, are also to be cited for less-than-stellar work.

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