182: Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day (PG-13) - 2010 - Runtime: 125 minutes
Starring: Ashton Kutcher, Jennifer Garner, the rest of Hollywood
Director: Garry Marshall

I'm not gonna lie - I did want to see this movie. I really like ensemble cast movies. He's Just Not That Into You, Love Actually - usually what happens is the sum is better than the parts. And Valentine's Day doesn't stray too far from that formula. Although some parts were extremely dull and about a fourth of the characters I didn't really care for, this was a pleasant romantic comedy that you shouldn't be ashamed of seeing this alone or with a date.

The movie follows obviously about a dozen or so different characters on, obviously, Valentine's Day. Most of the plot is typical rom-com fare.The main focus of the movie revolves around Reed (Kutcher) and his recent proposal to Morley (Jessica Alba in what has to be the dumbest name in all romantic comedies) goes a bit sour. It's pretty obvious he was meant to be with his best friend, Julia (Jennifer Garner) who is dating a married man played by Patrick Dempsey (not that she knows! She's the girl next door type!). And there are other characters but most of them don't deserve too much attention. The main story is solid, if a bit contrived. But in the end your invested - the best characters all seem to be genuine. There is supposedly a big reveal in that we learn about a character actually being gay, but it's not much of a spoiler (although I heard a few gasps in the audience when the movie reveals this fact). There are some good laughs in the movie, but I wouldn't say I was laughing a lot.

The big problem with the movie is that when the characters are dull - they're extremely boring and you wish you could skip to the next scene to watch the characters that are more enjoyable. Emma Robert's story and Taylor Swift's seem to be filler. They just don't fit with the more adult-oriented drama going on with the rest of the cast. And Shirley McLaine's story could have used more screen time - I really didn't feel too attached to her or her husband. But that's the movie - it moves along at a brisk pace and you're never stuck with a character for too long.

All in all, I enjoyed the movie. I still think that Love Actually and HJNTIY (what up, acronym usage!) are by far the superior big-cast romantic comedies. Most of the characters in the movie are wonderful with very few exceptions. And they're both really funny. Valentine's Day is worth watching - if you didn't catch it on V-Day weekend, you might be better served renting it next year!

Rating: Rent It!

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