A star studded cast portray a legion of hopeless romantics, cynics, and scoundrels of love, in a film that pays tribute to that most marketable of holidays, Valentine’s Day.
Essentially an American version of Brit comedy Love Actually, a HUGE cast of recognisable faces (Julia Roberts, Jamie Foxx, Anne Hathaway...) play a group of intertwined characters from the one city (Los Angeles) all searching for love.
But unlike Richard Curtis’ magnum opus of romance, this film takes place on the one day as supposed to several: Valentine’s Day, where an onslaught of flowers, rivers of chocolate, and a forest of cards with pre-written sentiments make way with ferocious speed to the awaiting clutches of those blessed to be in love, while others look on with silent spiteful resentment (you know who you are!)
A scene in the film (and its underwhelming trailer) features Ashton Kutcher’s florist declaring that “love is the only shocking act left in the world”. And while that may be true, romantic comedies are anything but unconventional, with last year’s crop (with the exception of a few) mostly dull and uninspired affairs.
Coupled with the fact that director Garry Marshall’s credit points from his 1990 rom-com hit Pretty Woman have dried up, (exactly how he managed to continue to make films after the likes of The Other Sister & Raising Helen), did not help matters.
So, it was a surprise to find that not only does Valentine’s Day buck the trend, but it also contains quite a few well written surprises, courtesy of screenwriter Katherine Fugate (creator of TV series Army Wives), who injects her script with heartfelt sentimentality and light comedic touches.
The films true strength is in its pacing. Despite its larger than Hollywood cast and 90 min runtime, the film does not come off as cluttered, and allows room for its characters to grow, even though some are more limited in their arch than others.
Every member of its cast play their roles suitably well, with even a few standouts featured in country bumpkin Taylor Swifts impressively funny ditzy teen, and Anne Hathaway’s phone sex worker.
Valentine’s Day fulfils its purpose. It is a sweet film, suitably gooey in the ways of love, with a constant head shot of who’s who celebrity actors. A fun time can be had for those game enough to watch it. And for those who aren’t, well this review won’t matter anyway.