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March 1, 2010 | by  | in Film |
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Valentine’s Day

Film

Valentine’s Day has always had a way of dividing opinions. There are those that live for it, revelling in the lush flower arrangements and heart-shaped chocolates. Then there are those who resent it, who see it as a vapid, heartless celebration of commercialism and vacuous sentimentality. I’m on the fence about the holiday, being able to clearly identify its merits and flaws. But upon viewing rom-com vet Garry Marshall’s new film of the same name, I find more reasons to agree with the latter camp, as Valentine’s Day seems an obvious exercise in that description.

Valentine’s Day follows the same large A-list ensemble rom-com pattern as past films like Love Actually (except without the humour) or He’s Just Not That Into You (without the relational insight). The film follows a number of episodes of different New Yorkers falling in—and out—of love on Valentine’s Day. Sadly, director Garry Marshall seems more concerned with how many familiar faces he can stuff into one film than he does with fleshing out his stories beyond predictable sitcom plotting. The script is paper thin and bereft of anything inspired, minus one or two surprises. There may be nothing new under the sun, and romantic comedies with nothing new to say are a dime a dozen, but the film seems so assembled, even the bountiful harvest of A-Listers struggle to bring it to life.

Some of the cast have their charming moments (I have a thing for Jennifer Garner), but most of them appear to be half-arsing it, aware that they are only onscreen for a few scenes each. There is a distinct lack of chemistry between most of the stars and as a lot of the stories tie up, you are left wondering what the characters even saw in one another.

The best way to describe this bad film is with an equally bad simile. Valentine’s Day is like a big, heart shaped chocolate. It looks pretty and you really hope it will taste good. But what you don’t know is that your valentine has been storing up hearts like this in their closet for years. So this heart is stale, hollow and a little sickening. And while the chocolate is still sweet enough to mindlessly consume, it’s the fact that our valentine is habitually giving these stale, empty hearts to us, with little thought or care that makes this gift, and this film, so unromantic.

Valentine’s Day
Director: Garry Marshall

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