From the Editor

Movie Review Archive

Thank you for checking out my movie review archive. I'm in the process of transitioning to something else, so I will no longer post new reviews to this blog. In the meantime, I will keep these reviews archived; these are from the fall of 2008 to April 2011. Please watch this blog for more info and keep in touch (you can still find me on Facebook and Twitter). Here's to more great movies!

Wes Singleton

North Texas Film Critics Association

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Valentine's Day - C

Rated PG-13 for some sexual material and brief partial nudity, 125 minutes

The pleasant, forgettable "Valentine's Day" an endurance test

If the '70s TV show "The Love Boat" were remade into a contemporary land-locked romantic comedy, it would be the new Garry Marshall film "Valentine's Day." That TV show was a schlocky guilty pleasure featuring loads of stars pining for love on a weekly basis, and likewise, "Valentine's Day" is a much-too-long schlocky guilty big screen pleasure with loads of pretty actors doing and saying icky, sappy things that only happen in movies like this. An enjoyable, sweet cream puff of a movie, "Valentine's Day" doesn't approach greatness by any means, but it does provide time- filler for the big V-Day date night out.

"Valentine's Day" features a myriad of different storylines tied together by the L-word (and I don't mean lesbian). Reed (Ashton Kutcher) owns a family floral shop. He proposes to his girlfriend Morley (Jessica Alba) but she dumps him. His co-worker buddy at the shop Alfonso (George Lopez) saw it coming but didn't say anything. His best friend Julia (Jennifer Garner) is in love with a married doctor (Patrick Dempsey).

Meanwhile, Julia's friend Kara (Jessica Biel) works as an publicist for pro football player Sean Jackson (Eric Dane) with a secret life. She meets sportcaster Kelvin (Jamie Foxx) while he's covering a story on Sean and the two hit it off. Sean's agent (Queen Latifah) is too busy for love, while her assistant Liz (Anne Hathaway) is attempting to balance a boyfriend with the company mail clerk (Topher Grace) and moonlighting as a phone sex operator. All the while Holden (Bradley Cooper) and Kate (Julia Roberts) are getting to know each other on a plane while returning home to the chaos of their respective lives.

Got that? And that's only about 1/4 of the assortment of bland storylines that run amok in the overlong cheeseball of a movie called "Valentine's Day." I didn't even mention the Taylor's (Lautner and Swift) or Emma Roberts or Shirley MacLaine and Marshall regular Hector Elizondo, who appears in all of Marshall's films, or the cameo from Kathy Bates, who literally walks on and off to bookend the film.

Marshall attempts to tie all of these storylines together to make you believe some sort of business about how love binds us all together. Love may also blind you to what a great movie is, and in spite of a handful of fun, winsome moments, "Valentine's Day" isn't particularly memorable. Marshall could've trimmed about 3/4 of the storylines for a more efficient (i.e. shorter) film, and it probably would've still been too much. Foxx and Hathaway are charming, and I desperately wanted to see less of Kutcher and Garner and more of MacLaine, Emma Roberts and her aunt, Julia, who has the most heart-tugging scene in the movie, and if you stay over to the credits, the funniest line, from the gag (blooper) reel no less.

Unfortunately, many actors get lost in the fray (Biel, Grace and Alba in particular), and other storylines are just too predictable (Cooper), some are annoying (anyone named Taylor or Ashton) while others are just completely unnecessary (Dempsey, Latifah). I admire Marshall for the effort in juggling all the actors and storylines, and he throws in a couple of fun tidbits (watch closely for the names on the signs in the airport to see if you know who it is - hint - Marshall directed the TV show years ago), but considering the massive star appeal, it's rather disappointing.

What do you get when you take a bunch of movie stars and mix them up in a movie about Valentine's Day? A flavorless, lackluster "Love Boat" remake docked on ground, with Kate Hudson noticeably absent. Guys, it's that time of year to man up. Endure the pleasant, forgettable "Valentine's Day" and you'll be in good standing, for a few hours at least.