Published Feb 11, 2010According to Garry Marshall's latest slice of trite idealism, the foundationally unctuous Valentine's Day, love comes when you least expect it. That is, if finding "love" on Valentine's Day and validating it by making an inconsiderate, self-absorbed public gesture is unexpected. This is ineffectual, bland studio schmaltz at its worst, a testament to glossy ensemble pieces that can afford A-list actors collecting a sweet paycheque for three days of effortless work.
With multiple actors from That 70's Show (Ashton Kutcher, Topher Grace), Alias (Jennifer Garner, Bradley Cooper) and Grey's Anatomy (Patrick Dempsey, Eric Dane), this cliché-ridden retread of Love Actually ranges from stories of the Some Kind of Wonderful variety to a Hitch vignette (wherein Jamie Foxx actually refers to himself as chocolate). It even tosses in a Matchmaker tale with Emma Roberts doing her best Janeane Garofalo routine.
We've seen this all before and with greater depth, as here, every screeching, rushed, overdone sequence equates to less time than your average sitcom, with true love being likened to a quick smile, a music cue and a cut to a Los Angeles city view to remind us of that piece of crap Crash. Such an apt reference, given the odious contrivance of each cartoon turn-of-events, derived less from human truths than the need for a unifying commercial holiday feeling of space-heater warmth.
Perhaps what is most aggravating about this fattening confection is that it is offensive only in how much it patronizes. It doesn't even take the risk of playful polemical posturing that screenwriters Marc Silverstein and Abby Kohn's similarly structured effort, He's Just Not that into You (or White People Whining), did.
Of course, this also means that a core group of viewers, comfortable with being insulted by celluloid, will delight in these insurmountable conveniences and shallow developments, not caring that the Taylors (Lautner and Swift) can't act, or that what they're watching was designed only to take their money with the least amount of effort possible. And heck, there's even a sequel in the works so they can do it again next year. (Warner)