Genre: Comedy, Romance
Directed by: Gerry Marshall
Starring: Julia Roberts, Jamie Foxx, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Alba
Valentine’s Day is one of those typical films that uses a well-known day across the globe to bring together a host of famous actors/actresses and stitch them loosely together using very thin story threads. Here we have Julia Roberts, Jamie Fox, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Alba, Ashton 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? 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’s made a mistake and leaves. Reed owns the florist in town and it’s here that he mopes about his situation and also comes into contact with many of the characters. Here’s my attempt at how these threads connect, without giving too much away. Ashton is best friends with Jennifer Garner who’s 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’s 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’s gay. Due to this Biel is chased by news reporter Jamie Foxx who wants an exclusive. Eric Dane’s agent is 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’s no major thread other than that all these people’s stories interconnect.
The stories fail to ever really connect emotionally apart from right at the end. If anything the better threads are the daft ones such as Taylor Lautner and Taylor Swift’s relationship, which is essentially 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 heartstrings don’t and instead seem rather contrived. I may have said the connections are done well, but that’s only with some of the characters. Then again, there are a ridiculous number of stories they’re 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’s one of those typical films with a large cast who have such little screen time that they just play their own selves. It 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’s playing the keyboard when you can quite simply remove the keyboard playing all together. It’s moments like these that show the lack of enthusiasm gone into making the film.
There are a few laughs to enjoy and some emotion right at the end, involving two characters that seemed thrown away at the start. If you watch this expecting to see something good you’ll view it as garbage, but if you view it expecting garbage you may find it to be acceptable. It won’t ever win any awards, or many plaudits, but as a film to watch when you want mindless entertainment you won’t be disappointed.