BRWC Valentine: Valentine’s Day Review

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By Robert Mann, back in 2010.

Following up the impressive ensemble cast of last year’s Valentine’s Day romantic comedy He’s Just Not That Into You was never going to be an easy task, that film boasting nine big names among its credits, but this year’s aptly titled Valentine’s Day release Valentine’s Day doesn’t just go one better, it goes ten, boasting a cast that consists of a whopping NINETEEN big name stars, making it possibly the most star studded (and one of the most diverse age wise, with stars to appeal to all age groups) movie ever made. One thing is for sure – this is one film that will do big at the box office. Is the film actually any good though? Well, some have claimed that Valentine’s Day is essentially the same as British romcom Love Actually, only with it being set on Valentine’s Day instead of Christmas and in Los Angeles instead of London. Read into this what you like – if you are one of those who loved Love Actually (like this critic, for instance) then this is one film you will probably also enjoy; if, however, you are one of those people who loathes that film then you can be sure that this film will not be for you.

Either way, though, the film certainly has some rather impressive credentials (although this will be subjective – some of the stars, and perhaps even the director, could be classified as love them or hate them) with not only an impressive cast line up but also a director – Garry Marshall – who has directed a number of truly enjoyable romantic comedies in the past, including Pretty Woman, Runaway Bride and both The Princess Diaries films, among many other directorial credits. So, is Valentine’s Day another classic, or like some of last year’s big Hollywood romcoms, does it promise much and deliver little?



February 14th, Valentines Day, is not a national holiday, but it is one of those days that must be celebrated. There are “special someones” in your life who expect to receive romantic gifts from their lovers. Commercialism has put a tremendous amount of pressure on men to give their lovers a romantic day with all the trimmings. Women are under pressure to have a man, or they feel desperate and unloved. Intertwining couples and singles break-up and make-up on this day, their stories told through the interconnections they have with each other. Reed Bennett (Ashton Kutcher) proposes to his girlfriend Morley Clarkson (Jessica Alba), not getting the answer he was hoping for, something that comes as no surprise to any of his friends, particularly the happily married Alphonso (George Lopez). Reed’s best friend, teacher Julia Fitzpatrick (Jennifer Garner), is planning to surprise her boyfriend Dr. Harrison Copeland (Patrick Dempsey), unaware that he is a married man.

Also unbeknown to her, one of her pupils, Edison (Bryce Robinson), is madly in love with her and is planning to surprise her. Publicist Kara Monahan (Jessica Biel) is planning her annual I Hate Valentine’s Day Party and getting stressed out because none of her friends have RSVPed. When one of her clients Sean Jackson (Eric Dane) plans to make a big announcement she crosses path with and finds a like mind in the form of Kelvin Moore (Jamie Foxx), a sports journalist who has been ordered by his boss Susan (Kathy Bates) to do fluff pieces about Valentine’s Day, despite the fact that he hates it. Jason (Topher Grace) and Liz (Anne Hathaway) have only been dating for a few weeks and already their relationship is in trouble when Jason discovers that Liz, whose main job is as a receptionist for publicist Paula Thomas (Queen Latifah), is moonlighting as a phone sex girl. The kindly Holden (Bradley Cooper) and army officer Captain Kate Hazeltine (Julia Roberts) meet on a long flight and form a connection. Teenagers Grace (Emma Roberts) and her boyfriend Alex (Carter Jenkins) are planning to sleep together for the first time. Edgar (Hector Elizondo) and Estelle (Shirley Maclaine) are a couple who have been happily married for over fifty years but an old secret threatens to destroy their bliss. Felicia (Taylor Swift) and Willy (Taylor Lautner) are a teen couple experiencing the joys of young love. Some will find romance in their relationship, and others will feel the heartbreak of ending a relationship. In this Russian roulette world of finding love, everyone is asking for advice on how to find and keep true love.

Despite its impressive cast, Valentine’s Day isn’t a film that works as well it could and probably should. For starters, the sheer volume of star names means that no one star gets a massive amount of screen time, meaning that fans of any particular star may well feel a bit disappointed that they don’t feature more. Also, a few of the roles amount to little more than cameo appearances meaning that they may as well not even be counted. Additionally, some stories are more interesting and enjoyable than others, meaning that the quality is extremely variable throughout the film and the fact that the different stories don’t entirely gel together makes it seem like some of them may have linked for the sake of it, rather than for any genuine purpose. For all these reasons, the film is certainly not the next Love Actually – although those who like that film will still probably enjoy this one too – nor is it another classic like Pretty Woman.

That said, though, the film does have its charms. Unlike some recent Hollywood romantic comedies, the romance is central throughout, never cast aside for irrelevant gags, and the film is pretty funny, occasionally providing some moments of hilarity, at least if the reaction in the screening I was at is anything to go by. The humour won’t be to everyone’s tastes of course but teen girls will love it even if no one else does. The story is mostly rather typical Hollywood fluff but it is at least quite enjoyable fluff with many of the stories being pretty sweet, some being very entertaining and a few even being quite moving. There are even a few plot surprises – obviously, nothing amazing, but certainly more than you would probably expect for a film such as this. The cast, who have pretty much the sole focus of marketing for this film, are far from their best here, none of them delivering any performances that are going to win them many accolades or them getting nominated for Oscars, but neither are their performances deserving of much criticism or any Razzie nominations, the majority of the cast members being very entertaining, even if many of the characters are slightly obvious stereotypes and attempts at against type casting deliver hit and miss results. So, Valentine’s Day is a far from perfect film but if you’re looking a date movie to see this Valentine’s Day that provides simple, undemanding entertainment it is definitely a film for you.


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Alton loves film. He is founder and Editor In Chief of BRWC.  Some of the films he loves are Rear Window, Superman 2, The Man With The Two Brains, Clockwise, Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, Trading Places, Stir Crazy and Punch-Drunk Love.

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