Review- Valentine’s Day

Taylor Swift and Jennifer Garner in Valentine's Day (New Line Cinema)

This is a re-post.

Valentine’s Day is decent, expendable funny, romantic fare that could have used some more judicious editing both before and after principal photography to make it a little better.

This is a film chock full of actors who have name recognition, such that several times leading up to and perhaps even during the movie, you are likely to forget one or two names who make up the all-star cast.
In a cast that features Jessica Alba, Jessica Biel, Kathy Bates, Bradley Cooper, Eric Dane, Patrick Dempsey, Hector Elizondo, Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Garner, Topher Grace, Anne Hathaway, Carter Jenkins, Ashton Kutcher, Queen Latifah, Taylor Lautner, George Lopez, Shirley Maclaine, Emma Roberts and Julia Roberts to discuss every single individual performance would be redundant and pedantic. Overall the ensemble was good with the exception of Lopez and Alba who were milquetoast and easily replaceable and were seemingly only there for demographic-reaching purposes. If three standouts had to be picked they’d be a little surprising they’d likely be Shirley Maclaine, no surprise; she’s great, Jamie Foxx, it’s been a while since he’s been this funny and sang without taking himself too seriously and lastly, and surprisingly, Taylor Swift her portrayal of a goofy high school airhead was a very necessary antidote to a film full of plotlines where the sky was falling.

The two biggest issues with this film are the similarities in plotlines and the edit. If the film had ended up being tighter perhaps the former would not have been such an issue, however, considering the fact that there were so many couples and stories it’s amazing how many of them had to do with infidelity. There are as many relationship issues as there are people and to boil it all down to that is a little weak. Despite that the plot lines seemed interesting enough, after a certain point the movie doesn’t seem to move quickly enough. Jennifer Garner takes the longest car drive in the world; Biel and Foxx are obviously attracted to each other but they play cat-and-mouse; when Garner and Kutcher get together we see them awkward-talk twice before fixing their kiss. Oddly enough, despite her hilarious performance, and her music aiding the score and feel of the film, Taylor Swift’s character and her boyfriend weren’t completely necessary because they brought no conflict to the film.

Conversely, the film is sewn together by a perceived to be fictitious radio deejay named Romeo Midnight who epitomizes randomness. These voice-over snippets usually accompanied by random acts of Valentine’s Day and PDA’s that have no bearing on the story but just give us an interlude before resuming all the stories.

Even though the film isn’t as tight, or perhaps as interconnected as Love Actually, or as joyous, there are a few very good surprises in the proceedings. There are many, many laughs to be had and a few rare scenes that will tug at your heart strings.

It is a decent addressing of a day in need of a film and it also does the important task of establishing the actual origin of the day, which has been obscured in the Hallmark-ization of America. A good way to spend a few hours and a good date movie.

6/10

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