Valentine's Day – Movie Review
THE ST. VALENTINE'S DAY MASSACRE OF STAR
by Kevin Bowen
published February 14, 2010
now playing nationwide
One of Valentine’s Day’s big stars, Jessica Biel, plays a lovesick
publicist who throws a pity party each year on Valentine’s Day to mark another year without a guy. As if Biel or any other member of the
star-studded cast would have trouble finding dates.
On this particular year, the pity party has no takers. That’s something
of a surprise. After being saddled with this melted-chocolate film and its dead rose of a script, every member of Valentine’s Day’s
long roster of the famously beautiful deserves a good pity party. With some care, attention, and alcohol, it could even turn into a support
When we watch a movie with a giant cast of stars, we want to see them
interact, play off each other, match skill and ego. With a few notable exceptions, Valentine’s Day fails to deliver, its stars spending
most of their time in isolation, unless you count a wickedly and intentionally starless set of male pushovers (Patrick Dempsey, Topher Grace,
and the like). In fact, the film’s one interesting pair is the underrated Biel with the only male star of rival stature, the charismatic Jamie
Foxx. It’s the one story that you sort of wish they would chuck all the other stories in favor of.
I said, sort of.
So Valentine’s Day’s enduring mysteries are not the
mysteries of love. They are the mysteries of casting. Starring in Valentine’s Day is less a matter of appearing in a film than making
sure that you get into the right Hollywood sorority, no matter how bitchy the sisters are. If you’re not in, you’re definitely out. It’s not
as important to be in the film as it is to not be outside of it.
Yet, strangely, the sorority sisters don’t even get rewarded with funny
things to do or say. Time after time, director Garry Marshall, he of Pretty Woman fame and Exit to Eden infamy, wraps up its few
laughs for the faceless bit players wandering at the edges. The result is Cupid shooting arrows not dipped in love but rather in career
So who survives this thing? Biel and Foxx, as mentioned, might have made
an interesting date movie on their own. Julia Roberts has one great moment demonstrating the power of star presence. While her phone-sex
secretary role shows her cut above-ness, even those of us who have championed Anne Hathaway need to stop and wonder if she’s starting to waste
On the downside, yesterday’s bombshell Jessica Alba fades into the
woodwork of the Beverly Wilshire hotel even among these meager surroundings. Jennifer Garner confirms her status as the actress who’s
remarkably adequate at doing what 100 other actresses could do. And as an actress, Taylor Swift makes a great singer.
Aside from once again noting one of my favorite Laws of the Cinema –
there is no good movie in which the phrase “Copy that” appears – that’s all I have to say.