Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Valentine's Day (*)

Valentine's Day. 126 mins. PG-13. Directed by Garry Marshall. Written by Katherine Fugate. Starring Everyone.

In the past, I've generally been a big fan of the epic, all-star, multi-character rom-coms like Love, Actually and He's Just Not That Into You, but all the star wattage in the world can't save the DOA cashgrab that is Garry Marshall's Valentine's Day. All props to Marshall for his legendary career in television, and even for Pretty Woman (his only really decent movie), but he is one hack of a director. And if Valentine's Day doesn't make you want to puke all over the holiday that inspired it, well then, you are a stronger person than I. There's not one moment in the movie that doesn't feel forced or derivative or some combination of the two. All of the actors are in their chirpy likeable mode - there's no nuance or dimension to their characters and not one of them plays a believable human being. You know a movie like this is in trouble when Taylor Swift (Taylor Freakin' Swift!!) is the best thing about it. Look, I like Jennifer Garner, Julia Roberts and Anne Hathaway as much as the next guy, and I'm a fan of B. Coop and Topher Grace in these kinds of movies, but Valentine's Day tested my patience from about five minutes in and had me covering my eyes in embarrassment at the level to which many of these highly respected actors stooped for a quick and easy paycheck, with no risk or downside if the movie bombs. Word has it that Marshall and screenwriter Katherine Fugate are lined up to make another all-star holiday rom-com centered around New Year's Eve. That's the bad news. On the plus side though, it can't be any worse than this fiasco. Avoid this one like the plague.

- John


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