The way the producers of the Love Actually-like ADHD-afflicted romantic comedy Valentine’s Day see it, the more stars, and interlinked characters — each with requisite adorable love story plot lines — the better.
As a result, every human being to have ever carried the lead role in a romantic comedy is in the film, and that includes Shirley MacLaine, who as far as anyone knows wasn’t even alive anymore by the time they started making this movie, but since everyone else was in there, she decided to come back from the dead to join the cast.
I’m telling you, EVERYONE is in this movie. Even Ashton Kutcher, who was swallowed up in the Bermuda Triangle that is reality TV, direct-to-DVD flicks and a relationship with Demi Moore that not even the tabloids care about anymore. Even Julia Roberts, who hasn’t starred in a romantic comedy in about 45 years, is there, and, of course, her niece Emma Roberts. And the Team Jacob guy from Twilight. And also present is Taylor Swift, even though she’s not an actress and proves the point with a regrettable female Napoleon Dynamite act.
The setting is L.A., the day is Feb. 14, and by the end of the film just about every character will end with a celebratory smooch accompanied by violin swells. And even the few who don’t, such as a a philandering husband who ends up cradling a pizza box in bed, gets off pretty well, because let’s face it, pizza is amazing and gives you far more cost-reward benefit than most romances.
You know exactly what you’re getting when you come into the theater, and the film neither disappoints nor pretends to half-care about exceeding the low mental bar you’ve set for it. I could have done without a couple high school-set sideplots, which add nothing to the overall arc and seem to exist as a personal favor to the Taylor Swift marketing machine.
The movie isn’t awful, and nor is it an award winner, unless you count Swift’s frontrunner status to add a worst supporting actress Razzie to her shelf full of Grammys.
Starring Ashton Kutcher, Jessica Alba, Jennifer Garner and Julia Roberts. Written by Katherine Fugate, based on a story by Fugate, Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein. Directed by Garry Marshall. Rated PG-13. 125 minutes.
Phil Villarreal’s humorous money-saving book, Secrets of a Stingy Scoundrel, is available on Amazon.
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