Mega-Star Power - but Still Trite
Director/writer/producer Garry Marshall, a prominent filmmaker involved with many TV series, likes feel-good movies. Pretty Woman, The Princess Diaries, and Runaway Bride are examples of the films he’s directed. Marshall may be one of the few filmmakers who could draw together the enormous cast now starring in Valentine’s Day, his new romantic comedy.
The title pretty much gives away the plot of this film. It’s a push-pull story about romance revolving around flowers, gifts, candy, cards, and who gets them and who doesn’t. Ashton Kutcher plays Reed Bennett, a flower shop owner whose escapades on the big day are like six degrees of separation with the other short storylines. There’s Morley (Jessica Alba), the girl he decides to propose to on Valentine’s Day. His best friend is Julia (Jennifer Garner), and Reed must figure out how to tell her that Dr Harrison Copeland (Patrick Dempsey), the man she considers her dream come true, is married with kids. We also meet talent agent receptionist Liz (Anne Hathaway), aka a phone sex diva part time, who goes to work for Paula (Queen Latifah) and falls for fellow employee Josh (Topher Grace).
While Alphonso (George Lopez), Reed’s good friend and one of the floral delivery men, drops off flowers all over town, he manages to get into a little trouble when football star Sean Jackson (Eric Dane), who has just lost his contract, bumps into the van. Sports reporter Kevin Moore (Jamie Foxx) immediately jumps on the air about Sean’s news. He’s very anti-Valentine’s Day but see’s a glimmer of hope when he attends Kara’s (Jessica Biel) “I Hate Valentine’s Day” party.
There are romances between young kids played by Taylor Lautner, Taylor Swift, Emma Roberts and Carter Jenkins. And older folks including Kathy Bates, Hector Elizondo and Shirley MacLaine get their screen time. Julia Roberts and Bradley Cooper have a nice character arc, but it’s young Bryce Robinson who’s the real scene-stealer.
Valentine’s Day is exactly what it’s intended to be, a fun movie based on a timely romantic holiday with mega-stars of all ages to draw diverse audiences into the theater. It’s a good date movie for singles and couples, with nothing serious to dodge or think about.
(Released by Warner Bros. Pictures and rated “PG-13” for some sexual material and brief partial nudity.)
Review also posted at www.reviewexpress.com.