So I watched Valentine’s Day…
Of all the commercial holidays that only exist to take money out of your pockets and force feigned intimacy, Valentine’s Day is the only one I actually enjoy. It’s my favourite day of the year. Yes, it’s cheesy and overly commercial but I love the idea of love. With that in mind, what better movie to write about on this most special of days.
Okay, basic plot: It’s Valentine’s Day and for a group of connected strangers, this day brings with it a fair amount of stress. For Reed (Ashton Kutcher), a local florist, it’s the busiest day of the year. For his bestfriend, Julia (Jennifer Garner) it’s her first Valentine’s with her new love and she’s eager to make a big impact. Across town, Kelvin Moore (Jamie Foxx) – a sports reporter is being forced to cover Valentine’s Day and winds up making a connection with PR agent, Kara (Jessica Biel). In between all these adventures, are countless more stories which interconnect and have massive effects on each other, with everyone just trying to have the best Valentine’s Day possible.
I remember watching this movie when it first came out over ten years ago. Ironically, I actually watched it on Valentine’s Day. I think I wound up actually enjoying it but I was younger then and the simple fact of a girl agreeing to go on a date with me probably sent me into a spin. My enjoyment of this movie now was significantly reduced, bordering on non-existent. It was such a tedious experience. The only thing this movie has going for it is that it has a bevy of stars which fill its cast. This might have excited me when I was younger but now it just feels superfluous and actually detracts from my enjoyment of this movie.
An ensemble cast with interconnected stories can work well, think Love Actually or anything from Guy Ritchie’s earlier work. The problem Valentine’s Day has is that it values its cameos over its actual plot. There isn’t a strong story thread that serves as the film’s spine. Everything’s far too scattered and you end up with a spineless, structureless, soulless, emotionally-hollow collection of cameos. These ensemble cast films are designed to be light and fun but the lack of story and the seemingly infinite number of celebrity appearances just sucks the fun out of everything. There’s nothing charming or authentic about this film in any respect. I think they tried to represent too many examples of what love and Valentine’s Day means to people and in the end they didn’t manage to showcase any of them the way they deserved.
The acting in this film is adequate for a bubblegum, popcorn movie. Nobody’s trying to walk away with an Oscar here. I feel that if the number of cameos was cut down, we’d actually have a chance to connect with some interesting characters. Instead the amount of recognizable faces dilutes the quality of the movie and wastes some pretty undeniable potential. I do, however, have to single out Taylor Swift for some of the worst acting I’ve ever seen in my life. She’s a talented musician and she needs to stick to her skills.
Overall, Valentine’s Day is a perfect metaphor for what the actual Valentine’s Day gets morphed into by the media – glutony, commercialism over quality and a regret that makes you question why you were excited in the first place. It’s not worth watching. 3/10