This Week at the Movies: Valentine’s Day



Movies like Valentine’s Day give Hollywood a bad name. The new Warner Bros. production – shockingly released this past Valentine’s Day weekend – is a blatant attempt to capitalize on the spirit of the holiday. If the title itself doesn’t give away the overly-formulaic approach to this romantic comedy, perhaps the excessive amount of actors in it will. Valentine’s Day stars nearly twenty (yes, twenty) big names like Jessica Alba, Jennifer Garner, Jessica Biel, Bradley Cooper, Ashton Kutcher, Jamie Foxx, Julia Roberts, Emma Roberts, Patrick Dempsey, Eric Dane, Queen Latifa, George Lopez, Anne Hathaway, Topher Grace, Kathy Bates, Hector Elizondo, Shirley MacLaine, Taylor Lautner and Taylor Swift.

At the end of the day, that’s just too many people to reasonably keep track of. Valentine’s Day tries to follow the cast as they navigate their way through intertwining relationship struggles on Valentine’s Day, though viewers will find it difficult to navigate themselves through the many short scenes and varying storylines. The plot and setting, likewise, do nothing to save this flick from being an uninspired business scheme. Valentine’s Day is set in February 2010 in sunny Los Angeles; pretty original, right? Ashton Kutcher and Jennifer Garner star as Reed Bennett and Julia Fitzpatrick, two lifelong friends who deal with and bond over their rocky relationships. Reed has just broken up with his girlfriend Morley (as played by Jessica Alba), while Julia discovers that her boyfriend, Dr. Copeland (as played by Patrick Dempsey) is married to another woman. Yawn! Like I haven’t seen that one coming before.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The plot becomes more unnecessarily complicated and unfocused with the introduction of each new character.

To be fair, Warner Bros. might have the last laugh; the studio’s attempt to capitalize on the holiday has been enormously successful. Valentine’s Day’s theatrical debut in the United States brought in $56.3 million over the weekend – the second-highest debut for a romantic comedy ever. But honestly, where is the love? While the studio went digging for gold and found it with the right tools, they did so in a fashion I can only frown upon. Quantity may trump quality from a business perspective, but a movie like Valentine’s Day – one that is so, so undetermined to actually entertain an audience – is surely a step backward for the image of the entertainment industry at large.

To conclude, any slight sense of quality in Valentine’s Day is completely lost in the film’s emphasis on quantity. Not recommended. At all!

Valentine’s Day is playing at the Hamilton Movie Theater now.