Feb 15, 2010

[Movies] Valentine's Day (2010)

Valentine's Day (2010)When reviewing movies, I always feel that it's important that you try to evaluate it based on its peers and not the entire body of work that is the history of films for the past 50 or so years. Comedies should be compared to comedies. Dramas must be judged as dramas and not action films. It seems very common sense, but it's a tad harder than that when you get down to it.

Garry Marshall is known for a particular genre of of feel good movies and romantic comedies. They're not necessarily award-winning movie concepts but they're the kind of movies that we all go to see when we want to have a good laugh, when we want to be reminded about the virtues of love or we just want to have a good time with friends or a loved one.

And this movie seemed tailor-fitted for this kind of thing, especially tying into the holiday the movie was named for.

Valentine's Day is a multi-plot romantic comedy directed by Garry Marshall of Pretty Woman fame. The movie follows the many misadventures of love and romance experience by a variety of people in Los Angeles on one particular Valentine's Day. There are far too many plot points to capture in a single synopsis, but allow me to try a few of them.

Ashton Kutcher, September 2008Image via Wikipedia

One of the big ones is about the current owner of Sierra Bouquets, Reed Bennett (Ashton Kutcher) who decides to propose to his girlfriend (Jessica Alba) on Valentine's Day. His best friend, Julia (Jennifer Garner) is currently in love with one Dr. Harrison Copeland (Patrick Dempsey), who has secrets of his own to consider. Then there are other side stories of interest like the budding relationship of mailroom clerk Jason (Topher Grace) and receptionist Liz (Anne Hathaway), who moonlights as a phone sex operator. Then there's Holden (Bradley Cooper) who finds himself next to Captain Kate Hazeltine (Julia Roberts) of the US Army on her way home for a one-day leave. The two bond on the plane fairly well while trying to figure out things about the other given the long flight.

There are many more stories and even more celebrities involved in the movie that it just gets rather dizzying to try and figure things out all at once. And yet the story isn't quite that complicated per se - it's just that there's a lot going on even if each story is fairly simple on its own.

The interconnected stories are both the best and worst part of this movie. The many plot threads and storylines do make things interesting and keep the story very dynamic and quick-witted. Thus it has resulted in many celebrity cameos and interesting side stories. At the same time however, the sheer number of plot threads doesn't result in a story that is very solidly tired together and it can feel like the many disparate plots don't all fit right. Plus there are some stories that just don't contribute much to the movie apart from perhaps the vision of the writer to somehow showcase every single possible kind of love celebrated or experienced in the world.

The acting was pretty decent but nothing exceptional as well - then again I may be judging things too soon. Given the limited screen time of each actor from within their respective plot threads and thus not everyone gets enough time in front of the camera for us as viewers to really evaluate their performances well enough.

It's definitely a simpler movie and one that generally makes you feel good about love given that one story or another is bound to be something you can associate with. It does seem to try to accomplish many different things all at once but of course it doesn't really drive anything in particular. It feels like many different stories that could have been full-blown movies on their owns but just merged all together into this hodge-podge story.

Don't expect this movie to change your life or totally blow you away - that's not its purpose. It's just a simple, fun, enjoyable movie full of eye candy and quirky moments.

Valentine's Day gets 4 crazy Anne Hathaway impersonations out of 5.

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