Love Is in the Air
Emotional ups and downs fill the screen in Valentine’s Day, Garry Marshall’s film mosaic about love. People falling in love, losing love, regaining love -- and at any age -- receive attention here. This very busy romantic comedy features an all-star cast, but its major connecting thread involves characters played appealingly by Ashton Kutcher and Jennifer Garner, who symbolize the important relationship between friendship and love.
It’s no secret that Valentine’s Day can be a stressful day for many individuals. Take Reed (Kutcher), for instance, a florist who proposes to his bewildered girlfriend (Jessica Alba) on February 14. Or his best friend Jenny (Gardner), an elementary teacher who plans a Valentine’s Day trip to surprise her successful doctor boyfriend (Patrick Dempsey). Or Jenny’s gal pal (Jessica Biel), who gorges on candy to lessen the pain of spending Cupid’s holiday alone. Or the sportscaster (Jamie Foxx) forced into fluffy man-on-the street interviews about Valentine’s Day. Or the senior citizen (Shirley MacLaine) with a secret she’s kept for many years from her devoted hubby (Hector Elizondo). Or the soldier (Julia Roberts) who has only one day to spend with her loved one before returning to active duty. Or the fifth grader (Carter Jensen) who faces disappointment after ordering Valentine’s Day roses delivered to his school. There’s more – but I think you get the idea.
Yes, that’s a lot to cover in one film. Fortunately, like Love Actually, Valentine’s Day -- from a story and witty screenplay by Katherine Fugate (Carolina) -- manages to hold our interest despite skipping around to so many characters. However, although I believe Love Actually will become a romantic comedy classic, Valentine’s Day sometimes misses the mark because of its uneven pacing. Still, Marshall (Raising Helen) shows his welcome humorous touch in such scenes as the “I Hate Valentine’s Day” party plus his sensitivity in highly moving sequences with veteran actors MacLaine and Elizondo, who prove once again why they’ve lasted so long in show biz.
Other highlights include amusing interactions between the two Taylors -- Swift and Lautner -- as energetic high school sweethearts, Anne Hathaway’s campy adult phone entertainer monologues, Queen Latifah’s take-charge attitude in her short time on camera, George Lopez’s low-key performance as a supportive friend, and the movie’s romantic soundtrack.
If you’re in the mood for love -- or for a movie about that craziest of emotions, watching Valentine’s Day is not a bad idea at all.
(Released by New Line Cinema/Warner Bros. Pictures and rated “PG-13” for sexual material and brief partial nudity.)
For more information about this film, go to the Internet Movie Data Base or Rotten Tomatoes website.