Starring: Julia Roberts, Jamie Foxx, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Alba
Running time: 125 minutes
Directed By: Garry Marshall
Written By: Katherine Fugate
Valentine's Day is one of those really typical films that uses a well known day across the globe to stitch together a host of famous actors/actresses and thread them loosely together using very thin story threads. Here we have Julia Roberts, Jamie Fox, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Alba, Ahston Kutcher, Jessica Biel, Queen Lafitah, Bradley Cooper, Kathy Bates, Patrick Dempsey, Jennifer Garner, and Topher Grace all in the same film. The surprising thing is despite the amount of names I have just reeled off; there are other well known faces among the crowd. Does this then make Valentine's Day a good film? The answer is no. Does it make Valentine's Day a fun film, which I let wash over me? Yes.
The plot interweaves many of these characters so that they all have some connection to each other no matter how small it is. The main thread though seems to be with Ashton Kutcher's character Reed, who proposes to his girlfriend Jessica Alba on the morning of Valentine's Day. She says yes before realising she has made a mistake and leaves. Reed owns the florist in town and it is here that he mopes about his situation and also comes into contact with many of the characters. Here is my attempt at how these threads connect, without giving too much away; Ashton is best friends with Jennifer Garner who is in a relationship with Patrick Dempsey but doesn't know he is married, however Ashton finds out and tries to tell her. Jennifer is the teacher of a young boy whose grandparents are looking after him. This boy has also met Ashton as he is trying to get a bunch of flowers sent to his valentine. Jennifer is also friends with Jessica Biel, who hates Valentine's Day, and is the PR for Eric Dane's pro-footballer who announces he is gay. Due to this Biel is chased by news reporter Jamie Foxx who wants an exclusive. Eric Dane's agent is then Queen Latifah who employs as her receptionist, Anne Hathaway who moonlights as an adult phone entertainer. Hathaway is in a new relationship with Topher Grace who ends up meeting the young boys Grandfather. On top of this we have school kids attempting to lose their 'v' plates and two people having a chance meeting on a plane. I hope that was easy to follow. There is no major through thread other than that all these people's stories interconnect. It seems to start on Kutcher but there is a big gap in the middle where his thread isn't seen so perhaps they just got his part out the way first.
The connections are done rather well but they are slightly generic and something a British audience would have seen before in the much better Love Actually. The stories fail to ever really connect emotionally other than a smaller one right at the end. If anything the better threads are the daft ones such as Taylor Lautner and Taylor Swift's relationship which is just kissing lots in the school field, or Emma Robert's pursuit at losing her virginity. The stories that are supposed to tug at your heart strings don't so much and instead seem rather contrived. I may have said the connections are done well but that is only with some of them, others are done so blatantly in order to get them to meet and seem very set up. Then again there are a ridiculous number of stories they are trying to connect.
Some of the emotional problems come from the fact that the actors aren't in the mood to step it up a gear. It is one of those typical films with a large cast who have such little screen time that they just play their own selves. It really seems like the performances are for the pay check instead of the morality. One thing that really annoyed me was the scene with Jamie Foxx playing keyboard when it was obvious he wasn't playing it. Why have him act like he is playing the keyboard when you can quite simply remove the keyboard playing all together. It is moments like these that show the lack of enthusiasm gone into the film.
It is a bad film but I did watch it not giving much of a care, meaning that I actually quite enjoyed some moments. There are a few laughs to enjoy and some emotion right at the end, involving two characters that seemed throw away at the start. If you watch this expecting to see something good you will view it as garbage but if you view it expecting garbage you may find it to be alright. It will never win any awards, or many plaudits, but to watch if you're chilling out as a daft naff film that you like than you won't be so disappointed.
2 / 5