Valentine's Day (2010) - Multi Story Romantic Comedy from Garry Marshall

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Following this film (which is pretty self explanatory by its title), Garry Marshall released New Year’s Eve. To be honest, 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.

For native LA-ers, 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 make grand gestures for their special someone. Flower shops across the city are unable to meet the demand… and some boyfriends take the ultimate leap: they propose to their sweethearts. Reed Bennett (Ashton Kutcher) makes such a gesture. He pops the question 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 including with 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, mail room 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?

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? 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.

But I'm jumping ahead of myself. There is still plenty I do love about this film.

Uncharacteristic of a typical Garry Marshall (Princess Diaries, Runaway Bride) this one is less wholesome, 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. Its biggest problem is that rarely is the humor “acceptable” in that it comes across as genuine. 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 have adorable chemistry as love-struck teens. Similarly, youngster Bryce Robinson is adorable.

Speaking of the cast, this one assembles an all-star group. One that also includes Emma and Julia Roberts, Shirley MacLaine and Bradley Cooper. I loved nearly everyone's story arc with exception to two of them. Both for reasons I won't get into for spoilers, and other reasons. This in no way diminishes the fact that everyone is fantastic in their respective roles - especially Jessica Biel's hilarious Valentine's-Day-hater. 

Not to be lost among the ruble is the touching story of an Army captain making the return trip home for a mere 24 hours. Or the meaningful marriage between a secondary couple. Regardless of its flaws, the script does contain some interesting statements and for that it deserves credit. If you're fine overlooking a few missteps and missing moral content, Valentine's Day is thoroughly entertaining. It's one I enjoy indulging in on its years holiday, and right or wrong, I'm always left smiling over the prospect of would-be pairings and actual happily-ever-afters. ♥

(This post does contain affiliate links, which means – at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through a link. Read the disclosure page for details.) Rent or buy Valentine's Day on Amazon Video or purchase it on DVD.

(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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