Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Under 250: Valentine's Day

It seems to me that if Valentine's Day is a movie which, if you go into with high expectations, proves you're probably living under the delusion that you like movies. Because, I mean, which part are you excited about?  The epic scope of the romantic comedy?  The grand assemblage of a cast comprised 50% of actors who tend to ruin more films than they make?  The 10 minutes of Julia Roberts screen time (trust me, her character is completely non-vital)?  The Hallmark card level of chick flickiness it aspires to, even in the title?  I'm questioning your judgement.  Valentine's Day does manage something of a feat.  It takes quite a few actors who I typically find irritating (Jessica Alba, Jessica Biel, Jamie Foxx, Ashton Kutcher, Taylor Lautner) and makes them palatable, though a little too sickly sweet.  The film is the Short Cuts of fluff cinema (right down to the presence of a phone sex operator, Anne Hathaway, who may win the game here), building narrative arcs and shoving them together in ways that are sometimes surprising, sometimes forced, always just a little bit shallow.  The fun here comes in watching how the  threads established in the opening scenes begin to intertwine, and not, typically, from the comedic viability of the scenes themselves.  The characters are generally likable and surprisingly grounded in spite of their short bursts of screen time, but ultimately, the film feels overdone and can't escape its own penchant for the saccharine. While there are a few laugh-worthy moments, much of Valentine's Day is trite and bogged down with the usual surplus of relationship baggage.  You might laugh the most at Taylor Swift, but unfortunately, it's not because of her bubble-headed lines, it's their delivery...she's really a shockingly bad actress.  No. Really.

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