I was hoping to find love while watching Valentine’s Day but instead I had to settle for just warm feelings.
Valentine’s Day is the latest romantic comedy capturing the intertwining of pretty people in Los Angeles as they break-up, hook up, and make-up because of the pressures of Valentine’s Day. Directed by ‘Rom-Com’ veteran Garry Marshall (Pretty Woman, Runaway Bride, Princess Diaries), this film comes out at the perfect time of the year with the perfect title. Even though it was panned by critics, the myriad of V-Day couples just couldn’t resist judging by the huge performance at the box office at $52 million this past weekend.
Valentine’s Day is directed in a multi-vignettes style similar to other Rom-Coms like Love Actually and He’s Just Not Into You. To say there was an ensemble cast would be a bit of an understatement, it was more like an army. I would list the actors starring in this but it might be easier to list who is not in the line up. It pretty much has anyone who is hot, sexy, popular, or personally connected with Garry Marshall (multiple actors have done several past movies with him).
In general, I like ensemble movies, especially when a bunch of A-listers are willing to share the spotlight. However, the challenge with these types of movies is trying to figure out how many characters and storylines can be introduced without turning into a convoluted mess. While Valentine’s Day wasn’t pure pandemonium I did feel I suffered from a little whiplash by the end. Each scene lasted for a mere few minutes and dialogue was often rushed to get to the next story. It was frustrating when you couldn’t enjoy more time with characters you liked and just as annoying when enduring the rest.
Don’t get me wrong, there were some enjoyable and sweet moments, but instead of feeling like I was watching a real movie, the fragmented momentum felt more like I was reading a newsletter. Valentine’s Day was more of a ‘what are they doing now’ type movie as it shows off its mighty cast. I have to admit, in the first 30 minutes it was a little starstruck when introduced to Jessica Alba, Jessica Biel, Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Garner, Ashton Kutcher, Julia Roberts, Taylor Swift and more (yes there were more). However, after the next 1 1/2 hours, it left me feeling like I just skimmed through a copy of People Magazine. I was mildly entertained but left feeling a little hollow.
On a positive note, there were a few minor twists at the end which helps its largely predictable story line. For a movie launched on the most romantic day of the year, Valentine’s Day doesn’t live up to its namesake. It will serve it’s purpose for a few weeks as it entertains the young lovers out there but after that it will be forgotten. It’s unfortunate with such a talented cast and experienced director that this could have been the best romantic experience of the decade- instead of a likeable 2 hour distraction.
If you like People Magazine then check this out. If not, watch a stronger film like Love Actually for a better romantic comedy montage experience.