When I first heard about ‘Valentine’s Day,’ I was excited. For one thing, director Garry Marshall is a master at telling romantic stories. He helmed ‘The Princess Diaries’ and ‘Pretty Woman’ – two of my favorite romantic films.
I think the reason I can’t put ‘Valentine’s Day’ up there is because there are too many stories, too many people to keep track of, and not enough time spent on their individual stories. It’s one of those ensemble pieces that had too many people in the ensemble.
I don’t mind that the film is about the pressures of Valentine’s Day, in general. There ARE a lot of pressures on couples to do the “right” thing that day. It sets expectations really high, to the point where no one can live up to them.
After the jump, the rundown on the storylines…
- Ashton Kutcher proposes to Jessica Alba.
- Kutcher’s best friend, Jennifer Garner, has a divorced boyfriend, Patrick Dempsey, who’s married, though Garner doesn’t know it, and Kutcher, a florist, does.
- One of schoolteacher Garner’s fifth-grade students, Bryce Robinson, is living with his grandparents, Hector Elizondo and Shirley MacLaine, who undergo a crisis of trust.
- Jamie Foxx is a TV sports newscaster dragged into V-day coverage, though he’s more interested in following the story of pro football quarterback Eric Dane, whose public relations agent, Jessica Biel, hates Valentine’s Day.
- On a plane heading to LAX, Julia Roberts, an active-duty Army captain, shares banter with business guy Bradley Cooper.
- Anne Hathaway and Topher Grace are two weeks into a relationship, but she hasn’t told him she moonlights as a phone-sex operator, a secret she’s also keeping from her boss, Queen Latifah.
- Taylor Swift is a ditzy high school student going out with Taylor Lautner
- Kathy Bates is Foxx’s TV producer, the one who sends him out on the V-day assignment with this: “I need happy. I need romantic. I need love.”
It’s all quite dizzying! There seems to be a trend of these ensemble movies, but maybe it’s time we went back to one or two fully-fleshed-out stories. I still love Garry Marshall, though, and look forward to his upcoming films, ‘State of the Union,’ and ‘Dear Eleanor.’