In the Picture

Valentine’s Day

Directed by Garry Marshall

Rated PG

It’s sad to say, but the best thing about this movie was watching the trailers before it.

As it was Valentine’s Day last Sunday I went to see this latest rom-com a few days later thinking it was appropriate timing to review it. It was Tuesday, middle of the day, and I expected an empty cinema, but to my surprise there were quite a few people in the movie theatre. Strange. I had to do a movie review for work… what the hell was their excuse!? Surely this is the sort of flick you hire on DVD for a rainy night alone at home when no-one else will know you watched it.

I am a hopeless romantic and I have to admit I’m actually a complete sucker for romantic comedies. To me they are the greatest form of escapism. Unlike real life, where love is messy, complicated and a right pain in the arse some of the time, in a romantic comedy you can rest assured that boy and girl will fall in love and live happily ever after. If there is a fight, it’s a silly misunderstanding about being unfaithful or something that enables the romantic comedy to last for 90 minutes, not a genuine stoush about important issues like washing the dishes and wet towels on the floor. To me, romantic comedies provide a wonderful little fantasy world where I can pretend a totally hot guy with fabulously white teeth will one day sweep me into his arms and look deep into my eyes as he professes his eternal love.

But even I wasn’t convinced by this one.

The story is really a very poorly done Los Angeles version of Love Actually. The movie follows the intertwining love lives of several people on Valentine’s Day. It has a huge cast including Julia Roberts, Ashton Kutcher, Jessica Alba, Jamie Foxx, Jessica Biel, Jennifer Garner, the famous Taylors (as in Swift and Lautner), Dr McDreamy and heaps more. Yet somehow this managed to fall completely flat – it is shallow and utterly predictable. It just had no heart to speak of, the few ‘funny’ moments were anything but, the dialogue tortured and the ridiculous notion that you can gorge on chocolate and have a perfectly cinched waist like Jessica Biel just really ticked me off. In fact, by the end I just wanted to look at someone normal – one more full, pouty set of lips, one more lash-framed dewy eye, one more tanned and well-muscled torso and I was going to scream.

I adore Julia Roberts, and director Garry Marshall is responsible for Pretty Woman, one of my favourite romantic comedies (I know, I know), so I went expecting to enjoy it. My mistake.

Valentine’s Day is just like the day itself really – a whole lot of hype and very little substance. The only redeemable feature? At least they put the apostrophe in the right place.

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