Sep 12, 2010

Valentine's Day (2010) - a lot like love, actually

directed by Garry Marshall / starring Ashton Kutcher, Jennifer Garner, Anne Hathaway, Shirley MacLaine, Jamie Foxx, Bradley Cooper, Julia Roberts, etc

Once again the power of low expectations has been proven great. Somehow I ended up enjoying the poor man's Love Actually.

Valentine's Day takes place in Los Angeles, descriping the lives of a bunch of people during one day. The day is, surprisingly, Valentine's day. People all over the city struggle to meet the expectations of the holiday. Love is in the air and no one can escape it.

 Everyone from Queen Latifah and Jessica Alba to Taylor Lautner and Doctors McDreamy & McSteamy is in this film. It's both funny and a bit pathetic how shamelessly Valentine's Day relies on its all-star cast. And people take their bait, of course. Guilty as charged, I only wached this because of all those famous faces. In addition to feeding on people's irrational fascination towards celebrities, Valentine's Day is just as shamelessly trying to do to Valentine's day what Love Actually did to Christmas. It has too many characters and too many little storylines, thus the characters lack depth, and the storylines don't have time to evolve into something original and truly touching. Sure, many of them are kind of connected to each other, but mostly just in boring ways. This won't become an annual tradition, like Love Actually is, for me.

And yet, as I mentioned, I actually enjoyed the movie. It was a fitting choice for my s l o o o o o w Sunday morning (although it wasn't techinically morning, I just woke up a bit, um, late. That Buzz Lightyear straw (and whatever I was drinking through it) sure took me a bit beyond infinity...). It didn't take much brain to follow the story, which was fine, and I even kind of liked some of the shallow, one-dimensional characters and their storylines, like Anne Hathaway's adult phone entertainer (cool euphemism) and Topher Grace and their budding relationship, Shirley MacLaine's marriage crisis, the cute little boy and his bouquet mission, and  Bradley Cooper and Julia Roberts in an airplane. (According to IMDb, Julia Roberts was paid 12 000 dollars for every 251 word she spoke in the film. Rocks to be a pretty woman.) Yeah, and Queen Latifah just is the queen, the end.

On the other hand, I could've happily left out some of the "love" stories, to make room for the better ones. The Taylor/Taylor horridness was almost painful to watch at times. Lautner was stiff and awkward and Swift plain annoying. (Though the only line in the movie that made me laugh out loud was in their story. See the quote at the end of the post.) Also the other high school romance story was quite boring, the whole oh-I-want-the-first-time-to-be-oh-so-special scenario is just kind of ancient history as a storyline. I didn't really feel the love in the Jessica Biel/Jamie Foxx thing, though there's nothing like a good old I Will Survive singalong. Ashton Kutcher and Jennifer Garner were supposed to be the central characters in the mess of love stories, but I didn't feel for them much.

So. Valentine's Day was a lot like Love Actually, but still clearly a poor man's version. And yet, some parts felt, for me, a lot like love, actually, and I have to admid I even shed one tiny teeny weeny tear at the end of the Julia Roberts story. (That was the only ending I didn't see coming. That, and the Bradley Cooper one. That was aww.) Also, it made me feel a bit love sick. Damn, they got me, those sneaky bastards! I feel a romcom phase coming on... Sigh.

"I don't feel comfortable taking my shirt off in public."


Mikaela said...

I liked this too, I usually love movies with lots of different characters and storylines, so this was written for me ;O) Lautner was adorable... Though not nearly as good as Love Actually, this was still a nice little movie to watch, totally harmless and entertaining...

Eeva said...

Little Tay-Tay was short of sweet, yeah... He just looked so damn awkward to me, all the time, couldn't help it :D But overall, the movie was a positive surprise!