Runtime: 125 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85 : 1
Director: Garry Marshall
Release Date: 02/12/10
Film star: Bradley Cooper, Ashton Kutcher, Jessica Alba, Jessica Biel and Eric Dane
This year, just a few days after Cupid’s holiday of romance and roses, I decided to get into the spirit of things by heading to the theater to see Valentine’s Day. I hadn’t heard much about this romantic comedy, aside from it’s long list of all star cast members, and went in with a completely open mind and no expectations at all. Only later did I begin hearing about the ghastly reviews this film has been getting and I’m sorry to say that I will have to agree with most of them.
But let’s start out with the positive things about this film, which follows in the footsteps of the British love story hit, Love Actually. The film follows the lives of a number of couples and singles as they intertwine on Valentine’s Day. The characters are played by a star-studded cast (maybe the largest in history!) including Ashton Kutcher, Jessica Alba, Jessica Biel, Patrick Dempsey, Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Garner, Topher Grace, Anne Hathaway, Queen Latifah, Taylor Swift, Julia Robert, Shirley McLaine, George Lopez and Cathy Bates, just to name a “few.” Personally, I thought that it was cool to see such a large number of hugely popular actors together in one film. However, the fact that the cast was so huge didn’t really allow any one character to take the limelight and really stand out.
There were far too many characters and storylines. If you saw a character that you liked they may not appear again in the film for another hour and, in the meantime, you had to sit through a number of much less interesting characters and plot lines. Some of the more experienced actors, such as Julia Roberts, Ashton Kutcher, and Queen Latifah, really stood out in a positive way. However, the younger newbies like Taylor Swift seemed all the more inexperienced next to this huge cast of big stars. Jessica Biel, who hasn’t been seen much since her role of Mary Camden on the TV series 7th Heaven, had an abysmal performance.
I think that what really separates Valentine’s Day from more successful films of the same genre, especially Love Actually, is the fact that they tried to squeeze too much in—too many stars, too many characters, too many plot lines. As a result, as a viewer I felt that I didn’t have anything to connect to. I wanted to be able to connect with the characters on a deeper level and to understand where they came from and where they were going, but they simply didn’t get enough screen time. There were a number of characters and plot lines that didn’t add anything to the film as a whole, such as the youthful romance between Taylor Lautner and Taylor Swift. If these could have been taken out and more time could have been spent on the more interesting plot lines then maybe it would have given the film the “oomph!” it needed to be a successful romantic comedy.
I wouldn’t say that nobody should go see this film. I think that it is a one-of-a-kind experience to see so many amazing stars perform together. However, don’t go in with high expectations. Go in ready to see a lot of stars and you may be slightly entertained.