Synopsis: Los Angeles residents fall in and out of love.
Release Date: February 12, 2010 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Genre(s): Romance, Romantic Comedy
Valentine’s Day is a film about Los Angeles in love but it is also a film about Los Angeles. The film brings in Los Angeles as a character in the film by displaying specific landmarks (Hollywood Forever Cemetery), landscapes (Santa Monica beach) and specific streets (Wilshire Blvd). It attempts to embed the plot of the film into the complex movement of the city.
Unfortunately, Valentine’s Day portrays LA in such broad strokes that only the stereotypes happen to surface and the presentation of the city seems forced rather than meaningful. LA becomes a place that has shallow values, is full of frustrated immigrant life, and is crawling with celebrities. The film’s treatment of LA is rather similar to its treatment of Love in LA. It tries to make the ubiquitous sentiment, love, the main character in the film.
It does so by showing some important landmarks of different kinds of loves including old, new, grandparental, parental, shallow, high school, modern, cheating, sexual and old-fashioned love. Ultimately, Valentine’s Day paints love in broad strokes and only the stereotypes (and cliches) happen to surface and the presentation of love seems forced rather than meaningful.
Valentine’s Day unfolds over the course of one day, Valentine’s day, and follows a slew of celebrities as they take part in their Valentine rituals. I say celebrities not because the characters are characterized as celebrities but because the only thing that makes these characters interesting is their star power outside of the film.
In some ways, the sheer volume of well-known stars in Valentine’s Day helps to fulfill and cement a kind of fantasy of what Hollywood (and by extension LA) is: a place lousy with celebrities. One positive aspect that did stem from this star effect was that the audience already felt familiar with the characters onscreen; it feels like watching a bunch of your oldest friends go through different stages of love and loss. Watch Valentine’s Day — the movie — if you are looking for 2 hours of high-gloss, mindless entertainment with fantastically beautiful people.
I will commend Valentine’s Day for having a relatively easy-to-follow plot. When you are dealing with multiple plot lines that converge and split, it can be extremely difficult to have everything connect together smoothly and coherently. It soon became clear, however, that the writers only focused on the plot structure and completely forgot to pay any attention to dialogue. The conversations between characters were cheesy at best and made relationships seem vapid and shallow.
As you have probably already noted from the trailers, Valentine’s Day involves the pairing of such great looking and famous people! Patrick Dempsey with Jennifer Garner, Jessica Biel with Jamie Foxx, and Julia Roberts with Bradley Cooper; who could resist these tabloid-worthy couplings?
Often the chemistry between stars transcended the bad writing and allowed the viewer to believe for a moment that these characters really had the hots for each other. Unfortunately, seeing Taylor Swift and Taylor Lautner together as high school lovers was uncomfortable to say the least; they were quite possibly the most awkward couple ever to appear on screen.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): Garry Marshall
- Screenwriter: Katherine Fugate
- Cast: Taylor Lautner (Tyler Harrinton), Bradley Cooper (Holden), Anne Hathaway (Liz), Taylor Swift (Felicia), Jessica Biel (Kara Monahan), Jessica Alba (Morley Clarkson), Jamie Foxx (Kelvin Briggs), Ashton Kutcher (Reed Bennett), Julia Roberts (Kate), Jennifer Garner (Julia), Emma Roberts (Grace Smart), Patrick Dempsey (Harrison)
- Editor(s): Gary Jones
- Cinematographer: John Debney
- Production Designer(s): Bruce Green, Charles Minsky
- Country Of Origin: USA