Valentine’s Day Review: Half Hearted
The customary mid February rom-com has arrived and lo and behold, this year they have decided to simplify things by just naming the film after it’s target market…
This tactic will save much confusion, but can 2010’s great romantic hope break new ground where so many of it’s predecessors have failed? Remember Music & Lyrics? (Shudder…)
Unfortunately the answer to that question is not quite, but Valentine’s Day will definitely give those looking for big-screen romance value for money this weekend.
While the film holds a measure of originality, wit and it’s fair share of laughs, it does not touch the heights that it might have achieved if the writers had edited a few characters and developed some others beyond the rudimentary outlines they receive here.
Director Garry Marshall has obviously taken inspiration from big ensemble pieces like Love Actually and more recently He’s Just Not That Into You, but while Valentine’s Day is by no means a failure – it certainly doesn’t live up to Richard Curtis’ chick-flick vista.
In a familiar structure of multiple character arcs, we watch as several people from Los Angeles start their special day with the usual hopes, fears and expectations. Ashton Kutcher immediately takes a central role as a florist (and a damn romantic florist at that) who has just asked his girlfriend (Jessica Alba) to marry him.
His friends include Jennifer Garner (a teacher who believes she has an awesome boyfriend) and Anne Hathaway playing her usual “this is all just too much”, self-deprecating girl who on this occasion happens to moonlight as a phone sex operator.
Elsewhere Julia Roberts has a short storyline as an Army captain returning to see her son, Jamie Foxx is a romance-hating sports journalist and Twilight pin-up Taylor Lautner and Taylor Swift form one of two high-school couples weighing up whether they should have sex or not.
Despite being 18 years old, both pairs decide to wait before “rushing into it” – maybe a none too subtle nudge to American youth?
Mixed in with all this lot we have a generic elderly couple, a very saccharin lad, and a well conceived gay couple. But will Valentine’s Day go smoothly for these Los Angelinos? Will it hell…