"Valentine's Day" Film Review
By: Nathaniel Simpson
Valentine's Day is the most romantic time of the year. It's jam-packed of lovey-dovey cards, flowers, chocolates, grand gestures, and many more notions to show that someone really loves someone else. Garry Marshall's ensemble film explores Valentine's Day through numerous different perspectives, fully showing how this holiday makes others feel and the experiences they go through. With an all-star cast that does a great job of providing a fun time for the audience, Marshall shows the ups, the downs, and everything in between concerning this holiday in a jumbled and overstuffed film that's main focus is to provide a fun time for the viewer.
This movie seems very complex and has a bunch of connections that links the characters to each other. The casting ensemble consists of Julia Roberts, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Biel, Bradley Cooper, Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Garner, Ashton Kutcher, Taylor Swift, Taylor Lautner, Jessica Alba, Emma Roberts, Patrick Dempsey, Eric Dane, Topher Grace, Kathy Bates, Shirley MacLaine, Héctor Elizondo, Queen Latifah, George Lopez, Bryce Robinson, and Carter Jenkins. There's at least ten A-list actors who can easily hold a movie on their own.
All of these actors are split into separate segments, each focusing on their own story and pursuit of love. From newly engaged couples to those going on one of their first dates to children falling in love with adults as they don't fully understand that special feeling that hopefully everyone feels at least once in their lives. At the same time though, the movie shows that love isn't this simple feeling everyone gets. They show the complex emotions and heartbreak behind it as well, and it demonstrates how powerful the feeling of love is. The story is intertwined so every character knows of or is directly linked to other characters in this movie, which I honestly think is pretty impressive.
It's obvious all of the actors here are having a good time. Is it Oscar worthy or a great performance we have come to expect from these performers? Well, no, but I think this movie is more concerned with entertaining the audience and getting them to forget about the world for a little and just enjoy themselves for the next two hours. I think at the same time, even though all of these actors assembled together is a cinephile's biggest desire, it starts to feel very claustrophobic and almost too much at times.
Some of the storylines as well come across as childish and mediocre compared to some. Consider the storyline where Emma Robert's character is planning on losing her virginity to her long-time boyfriend. The whole segment is sort of forgettable and seems out of placed compared to the rest of the movie. Yet, they spend quite a bit of time focused on their relationship and whether they should wait or not. The best, in my opinion, is that of Ashton Kutcher's, who sort of serves as the overarching main character. His story is the most developed and thought-out, and I think the filmmakers did a very good job of crafting it around what he is going through and trying to war his best friend that her new boyfriend is also married. I would definitely say the most fun in the movie is the storyline with Hathaway's and Grace's character, as the former is trying to make their relationship work while also moonlighting as a sex phone operator. Unfortunately, the movie spends too little time here, so they force us to enjoy what little we have of them.
This movie isn't trying to re-invent the wheel or be a very thought-provoking movie, but simply rely on romcom tropes to entertain the audience and make them laugh. In that sense, this movie works very well. However, there are many instances where this movie could have improved upon itself or cleaned up the storylines and made them less convoluted. But, on a viewer standpoint who just wants to have a fun time with a cute, little rom-com, I think this movie is a perfect little romance comedy for Valentine's Day.
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