If you don’t already hate Valentine’s Day, you will after seeing the movie Valentine’s Day. A film seemingly devoid of purpose after February 14, this cinematic waste of time employs practically every romantic comedy cliché in the book: Best friends who realize they’re attracted to each other! A hot chick who can’t find love! An old couple who learn a secret about their relationship after all these years! A precocious kid who pines for an older woman! A naive woman who realizes her boyfriend is still married, and exacts revenge in front of the wife! Two virgins who are about to have sex for the first time — until one of their parents catches them! A cynical man who hates the holiday but somehow manages to fall in love anyway! Stevie Wonder singing “Signed, Sealed, Delivered … I’m Yours” on the soundtrack! Characters singing “I Will Survive!” A sassy black woman played by Queen Latifah! A sassy Latino sidekick (played by George Lopez)! An unseen radio DJ doing voice over! Oh, and this being 2010, two characters who turn out to be gay and a Bollywood-style dance number! (Whoops. There’s a spoiler or two in there. I guess I just saved you $10.)
Yes, Valentine’s Day, with its holiday-centric story and large ensemble cast (including Julia Roberts, Bradley Cooper, Shirley MacLaine, Anne Hathaway, Hector Elizondo, Jessica Biel, Ashton Kutcher, Jessica Alba, Topher Grace, Taylors Swift and Lautner, Grey’s Anatomy stars Patrick Dempsey and Eric Dane, and my beloved Jennifer Garner), wants to be Love, Actually. But it’s not. It’s not even as good as last year’s large-ensemble rom-com, He’s Just Not That Into You (which I actually kind of liked). Rather, it’s over-stuffed, overly long, really obvious, predictable, and pandering, and just an embarrassment for nearly everyone associated with it. Sure, I didn’t groan as often as I thought I would, and for the first third or so, I thought this was actually kind of a light, fun flick, but some plot twists (such as the ones mentioned above) you can see coming from miles away and director Garry Marshall (Pretty Woman) takes his sweet time letting them play out. Ultimately, this is a film that’s even more of a chore to get through than the day on which it’s based.
Neither a good date movie nor a worthwhile anti-holiday movie, Valentine’s Day instead confirms that February 14 is the stupidest of days, the most Hallmark of holidays. (And I actually like Valentine’s Day!) That’s why the movie gets a D from me.