Valentine's Day (2010)

Since Garry Marshall’s follow-up (New Year’s Eve) to this romantic-comedy is releasing this upcoming weekend, I thought, why not re-visit this, his first attempt to monopolize a highly publicized holiday? This is one of those movies I really shouldn’t like because its moral compass is more off-beat than your average comedy is, but still… I do “like” it.

It’s just another bright, beautiful  - or maybe hectic day in Los Angeles. It’s Valentine’s Day – the one day a year when perhaps even the most cynical of romantics tend to do something special for their special someone. Flower shops across the city are unable to meet the demand… and some boyfriends make the ultimate gesture: they propose to their sweethearts. Reed Bennett (Ashton Kutcher) finds two of those on his agenda this morning. The more important of the two is proposing to his highly successful girlfriend Morley (Jessica Alba) who (to everyone but Reed’s surprise), says yes!

Overjoyed, Reed heads off to work at his small but flourishing florist, where he wastes no time in sharing the good news with co-workers and friends, one of whom is Elementary teacher Julia Fitzpatrick (Jennifer Garner). Best friends for what seems forever, Julia is Reed’s companion when Morley isn’t interested in watching silly movies or goofing off by heading to a sporting game, but now Julia has found a promising relationship in a charming doctor (Patrick Dempsey), something that may potentially wreck their bond. Or bring her nothing but heartache.

Valentine’s Day for others brings nothing but misery. Publicist Kara Monahan (Jessica Biel) is one of those people. Annually she hosts an “I Hate Valentine’s Day” bash, whose only guest is usually friend Julia. Only this year she finds an ally in sportscaster Kelvin Moore (Jamie Foxx). Meanwhile, mailroom worker Jason (Topher Grace) just had an unfortunate epiphany – Valentine’s Day is always on a Thursday… right? His girlfriend of three weeks, Liz (Anne Hathaway) didn’t want to linger that morning and now he knows why… or could it be that Liz is hiding secrets from this encouraging romance?

Uncharacteristic of a Garry Marshall film this go-round makes less-than-pleasant enjoyment, although there are snippets that remind us why we so love this “iconic” director’s works. Valentine’s Day sparkles with its own kind of charm, but most of the time it succeeds in making us feel nothing but disappointment. This was one movie I saw in theaters and have seen subsequent viewings, but after walking out of the theater, I remember having liked the movie. Its biggest problem is that rarely is the humor “acceptable” in that it comes across as genuine; “crude” becomes the operative word, instead. Country darling Taylor Swift provides for the few genuinely comical scenes there are (she is just adorable as the ditzy, but sweet Felicia); she and fellow co-star Taylor Lautner were cute together as love-struck teens. Similarly, youngster Bryce Robinson is adorable.

An all-star ensemble, which also includes Emma and Julia Roberts, Shirley McLaine and Bradley Cooper unfortunately, cannot save what had so much potential to be a “cute” multi story-arc in the tradition of its predecessors. Scriptwriters would seem to be on the right footing getting up some great momentum only to come crashing down by including a ridiculous comment or awkward moment. What was most troubling was the number of young people in my showing; it was embarrassing for me knowing they were all around and actually seeing this (some of whom were whispering throughout and worse, comprehending these things). The conclusion was shaping up to be really sweet before writers ruined it with an unforgivable act, one that the audience collectively groaned over. Sadly for all its potential this is one movie that dances too close on the edge of what’s moral and what’s not.

Not to be lost among the ruble is the touching story of an Army captain wanting to return home for a mere 24 hours to see her loved one in a simple but sweet reunion. Or a secondary couples meaningful marriage. Regardless of its flaws, the script does contain some interesting statements and for that it deserves credit, marginal as it may be. Because of its content load I cannot easily recommend this. The cast and director were the biggest draws and, although it does have its touching and worthwhile instances, are they worth wading through everything else that sours the romantic fluff? It really disappointed fans, I think. But if there is one thing filmmakers managed effortlessly is “killing” the mood of scenes where all the goodness is buried beneath layers of bad vibes. As another reviewer shared – sorry, we like to be swept off our feet first not have our romantic notions crushed – and that last line of dialogue sneaking in the script to close everything out just doesn’t cut it.

(Rated PG13, this is what you need to know: one character is a “phone sex” entertainer, another is a homosexual. Other concerns pepper the screenplay, including references to teenagers planning a noon-time, intimate rendezvous and a woman dating a married man [unknowingly], plus a past extra marital affair is uncovered. Women show a lot of leg when awaking during opening credits and low-cut camisoles or dresses. References are made to making-out and -love. Drinking is an issue. Profanity is littered throughout [h*ll, da*n and if memory serves me right, even an F-word])


  1. haven't seen this yet. looks like a 'good' bad movie? the kind you wanna see but not tell your pastor about, lol. just kidding XD

  2. Your comment made me smile, Jessica. =D

    This is kind of one of those movies that the viewer likes... but knows they really shouldn't be entertained by. It has too much immoral content in it for there to be much of a redeeming quality. Still, there is something about it that makes me laugh.

  3. Haha, I echo Jessica! :D
    Oh, and I made a button for your blog to put on my blog button page! :) I hope you don't mind...?

  4. I think that is great that you made a blog button for this blog, Trinka! And I am just fine with it. =)

    Yeah, this movie is "funny," but far from perfect.


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