Written by Katherine Fugate
Directed by Garry Marshall
Where & When: Arclight Cinemas, Hollywood, CA. February 20, 2010 5:05PM
You will be razzle-dazzled by all of the Hollywood star wattage this film has to offer and to be honest, it is quite an impressive cast but they are all wasted in this lazy and lackluster romantic comedy. Mr. Marshall is very fortunate that he was able to use either his friendship or professional relationships with these actors to get them all on board because if any of them had read the script first, they would have all ran the other way.
This film is made up of several different story lines that are tied together by one (or more) of the characters having some sort of relationship with another character in each story.
It is Valentine's day and we first meet Reed (Ashton Kutcher) who proposes to his girlfriend, Morley (Jessica Alba) one beautiful Los Angeles morning and she accepts. Reed tells his co-worker at a florist shop (George Lopez) and his good friend, Julia, (Jennifer Garner) a school teacher who are less than excited by the news but are happy for him.
Julia has found love with a doctor (Patrick Dempsey) but he is unable to spend the day with her because he has to go off on a business trip in San Francisco. It's okay because she normally spends the day with her friend, Kara, (Jessica Biel) a sports publicist who has her annual "I Hate Valentine's Day" party. Reed talks her into flying up north to surprise the doctor but he later just happens to meet the doctor at the shop. He finds out that the doctor is sending flowers to Julia as well as the wife he is supposed to be separated from. Reed now has to stop her from going.
Kara represents Sean Jackson, (Eric Dane) a football player who is contemplating retiring so he can try and have a normal life. His agent, Paula (Queen Latifah) has a new receptionist, Liz (Anne Hathaway) who just started dating Jason, (Topher Grace) who just happens to work in the mail room in the office. Jason doesn't know this but Liz moonlights as a phone sex worker and she takes calls at all hours of the day including while on the job.
Television sports reporter, Kelvin Moore (Jamie Foxx) has been sent out by his producer (Kathy Bates) to do a story on Valentine's day. He's not at all interested but he doesn't have a choice in the matter. While going around interviewing people including two young teenagers in love, (Taylor Swift and Taylor Lautner) he hears that Sean Jackson is going to make an announcement at a press conference. Kelvin knows this could be a big story for him so he goes to Kara's office to see if he can get some info from her. When he gets there, he finds her wallowing in self-pity and chocolates because of her lack of a man on Valentine's day. Despite this, sparks fly between these two but they have to get back to work.
Edgar (Hector Elizondo) and Estelle (Shirley MacLaine) have been been married for many years but she has kept a secret from him that threatens their future together. The couple are watching their grandson while his mother is away. His baby sitter (Emma Roberts) is planning to have sex with her boyfriend because they are each going away to college at different schools and they want to do something to remember each other by.
Finally on an airplane, Kate, (Julia Roberts) a captain in the U.S. Army is on a one day leave and she is sitting next to Holden, (Bradley Cooper) both on their way to L.A. In a not completely surprising little twist, they each tie together two of the other story lines.
What I liked the most about this film is that the cast was multi-ethnic and multi-cultural, exactly the way Los Angeles really is. You don't see it too often in films and it was really refreshing to see.
This film is so busy trying to cram all of these story lines in to a two hour film that everything is overly simplified, littered with cheap and unimaginative laughs and way too many implausible plot coincidences which doesn't help to make a good romantic comedy.
All of the actors do they best they can with what little they have to work with. Ms Swift's character was particularly irritating to me but she did do a good job at portraying a modern teenage girl; They talk a mile a minute but aren't actually saying anything.
"Valentine's Day" is corny and very predictable but it did have a few sweet moments but certainly not enough to keep this interesting. The film is exactly like how Los Angeles has been described by many people I know (who don't live here, of course): shiny and beautiful on the outside but shallow and empty on the inside.