Screen Gems Movie Reviews with Kennie Bass. You'll find it First On Fox!
February 12, 2010 Valentine's Day
Studio: New Line Cinema Rating: PG-13 for some sexual material and brief partial nudity.
There are some tried and true elements of romantic comedy.
With a cast that includes just about every hot young star in Hollywood, "Valentine's Day" tries to use them all.
Directed by Garry Marshall, the man who brought us "Pretty Woman" and "The Princess Diaries," "Valentine's Day" has a ton of potential.
A proven director plus talented and good-looking stars usually produces a winner.
The plot sounds simple. It's a study of what happens on February 14th. But the execution is complicated...think of it as "24" meets "Love, American Style."
The stories weave back and forth as the characters experience the ups and downs of the holiday.
Charleston native Jennifer Garner leads the ensemble. Her Julia Fitzpatrick is excited about the dawn of a new relationship with a doctor, played by Patrick Dempsey.
But as it often happens with love, the the road to happiness can be a little bumpy.
Julia is facing a holiday alone, so she talks things over with her florist friend, portrayed by Ashton Kutcher.
He suggests that Julia surprise her new love. But that doesn't work out quite the way she planned.
Although this film has touching moments and parts I enjoyed, "Valentine's Day" comes across as a jumbled mess. There are too many main characters, about 20...and too many main storylines, about 10...to keep track of.
The problem with cramming that much material into a movie is that none of it is fleshed out very well.
I know I'm going to sound like a homer, but Garner actually comes out the best among the performers. She, along with Kutcher, have decently well-rounded characters. But the others, an all-star roster of Hollywood's beautiful people, don't get the same treatment.
They're a collection of caricatures that you never really sympathize with.
And a major disconnect for me is that it's very hard to believe that this bunch has any trouble around Valentine's Day. Are you kidding me? If they can't find love, what hope is there for us average folk? When I go to the movies I can suspend disbelief and watch a man fly or aliens attack, but I just can't buy Jessica Alba, Jessica Biehl or Anne Hathaway sitting home alone waiting for the phone to ring.
Like the celebration it's named for "Valentine's Day" has some wonderful moments, but it also contains missed opportunities and heartbreak.
On my rating scale, "Valentine's Day" earns a DOUBLE.
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