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“Valentine's Day" - {Blu-ray} - (Chris)
Reviewer:
Chris Pandolfi
Studio: New Line
Genre:
Drama
Release Date:
5/18/10
Special Features:

14 Deleted Scenes with intro from Garry Marshall/The Stars Confess Their Valentine's Day Stories"

Review:

Gary Marshall's "Valentine's Day" is a romantic comedy with Attention Deficit Disorder, constantly shifting back and forth between stories, never staying on any one long enough for something meaningful to sink in. Just when we reach a genuinely charming moment, we cut to another subplot and find ourselves having to invest all over again before yet another cut to a different subplot, and it keeps going like this for just under two hours. It doesn't help that the film is essentially a showcase of stardom, every story featuring very famous people; you want to see them as their characters, but instead you're distracted by their celebrity. There are specific plotlines I enjoyed, and there are characters I found endearing. But on the whole, "Valentine's Day" is overlong, overstuffed, and overambitious.***

There's no adequate way to describe every plotline, which is just as well since I doubt the average moviegoer would have the patience to keep track of them all. So then how can I describe this movie to you? Let's begin with the general idea: "Valentine's Day" is a collection of small narratives in which Los Angeles natives, whose stories all interconnect to some degree, go through the ups and downs of love and relationships on February 14. Probably the best place to start is with Reed Bennett (Ashton Kutcher), a florist who proposes to his girlfriend, Morley (Jessica Alba); for reasons he has yet to understand, everyone around him is surprised by this, including his friend, a schoolteacher named Julia (Jennifer Garner).***

She's head over heels in love with a heart surgeon named Harrison Copeland (Patrick Dempsey), who, for lack of a better term, is quite good at juggling things. Julia's best friend is Kara (Jessica Biel), a publicist for football player Sean Jackson (Eric Dane), who at age thirty-five is ready to consider retiring. Kara becomes hopelessly neurotic every Valentine's Day due to her failure in the relationship department, and is once again organizing her annual I Hate Valentine's Day party. Strangely enough, this appeals to Kelvin Moore (Jaime Foxx), a sports reporter; on this particular day, he's on the streets covering Valentine's Day stories, although he would like nothing more than to stick to what he does best, and lo and behold, Sean Jackson is ready to make an announcement.***

Sean's agent, the tough-talking Paula (Queen Latifah), has just hired a new receptionist. Her name is Liz (Anne Hathaway), a cash-strapped college student who earns extra money by moonlighting as ... something her new boyfriend, a mailroom clerk named Jason (Topher Grace), has trouble accepting because he's from Indiana and therefore likes simple things.***

Meanwhile, Reed is supposed to make a delivery to one of Julia's students, a boy named Edison (Bryce Robinson), who claims to be in love and desperately wants to give a valentine to the girl of his dreams. This is a tough year for Edison because his mother isn't there, and he's now being raised by his grandparents, Edgar and Estelle (Hector Elizondo and Shirley MacLaine). They realize they're having problems of their own when Edison's babysitter, a high school student named Grace (Emma Roberts), confides to them that she and her boyfriend, Alex (Carter Jenkins), had planned to lose their virginity on Valentine's Day before she had a change of heart. Her friend, Felicia (Taylor Swift), seems infatuated with her boyfriend, Willy (Taylor Lautner), who sent her a gigantic white teddy bear as a Valentine's Day gift.***

As it turns out, an interesting - if ultimately misleading - relationship is developing in the skies above; a businessman named Holden Bristow (Bradley Cooper) and a soldier named Kate Hazlitine (Julia Roberts) are on a plane headed for Los Angeles. While they have a pleasant enough conversation, and while they're both very nice, respectable people, they ultimately reveal little about what they're going back for and who they hope to meet once they arrive. Yes, something is at work here. No, it's not what you think it is.***

Did you get all that? I told you there was no adequate way to describe every plotline. Sorting through this movie is mentally exhausting, and the fact that Marshall and writer Katherine Fugate didn't take this into account shows a serious lack of insight on their part.***

If I had to pick one plotline that works best as far as performance, story, and characterization, it would have to be the one starring Julia Roberts and Bradley Cooper. The Ashton Kutcher/Jennifer Garner/Jessica Alba plotline is cute and somewhat appealing, but it's also conventional, following the rules of pretty much every romantic comedy ever made. The worst plotline is the one starring Bryce Robinson; never once did I believe that a boy that young could ever be so romantically inclined. And don't tell me that you had a boyfriend or girlfriend back in grade school - you and I both know romance doesn't exist before puberty. As for every other plotline, I can't say I responded to them, in large part because they kept interrupting each other.

Special Features:

BONUS FEATURES include: Blu-ray edition: • Exclusive Sex and the City 2 Sneak Peek Trailer • 14 Deleted Scenes with intro from Garry Marshall • "The Stars Confess Their Valentine's Day Stories" • Gag Reel • Music Video: "Stay Here Forever" by Jewel • The Garry Factor • Audio Commentary • DVD version of the movie • Digital Copy

Final Words:

As well as moments of desperate physical comedy and obvious verbal gags, made "Valentine's Day" a tedious, unrewarding experience, one that left me wanting a dose of Ritalin.***

 

 
 
 
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