Valentine's Day

Release Date: February 12, 2010

Dude, what's mine say?

On the Big Board
Position Staff In Brief
108/123 David Mumpower Part of it is quite sweet, but this movie features some of the worst acting in recent memory. I'd be hard pressed to name three worse performances in the same movie.
173/190 Max Braden I loved Love, Actually, but this was just derivative. Matthew Walker was pretty funny as a stand-in reporter.

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After the glut of unoriginal titles in the final quarter of 2009 (including, but not limited to It’s Complicated, Love Happens, and the ever-insightful Everybody’s Fine), New Line will kick off the new decade with the cleverly-titled Valentine’s Day. The Gary Marshall-helmed Valentine’s Day is made in the same vein as ensembles such as Love Actually and the more Americanized He’s Just Not That Into You. Audiences tend to eat these films up, as they get to see hoards of today’s most popular stars share screen time together. Make no mistake, the list of talent for Valentine’s Day is impressive. It includes (but, keep in mind, may not be limited to) such favorites as: Julia Roberts; Bradley Cooper (think New Line knew Hangover would be that big when they cast this guy?); Jamie Foxx; Patrick Dempsey; Queen Latifah; Anne Hathaway; Jessica Alba; Jessica Biel; Jennifer Garner; Ashton Kutcher; Topher Grace; and, of course, Gary Marshall stalwart Hector Elizondo (you may remember him as the hotel manager in Pretty Woman). Also, you might expect future ads to capitalize on the presence of teen-sensation and bionic-abs-laden Taylor Lautner – even if his screen time is minimal.

Interestingly, despite the cachet Marshall’s name brings within rom-com circles, his resume features a fair share of unimpressive performers like Raising Helen and the Lindsay Lohan debacle Georgia Rule. He did bookend the '90s with two of the biggest movies of the genre with Pretty Woman and Runaway Bride, both of which helped turn Julia Roberts into America’s sweetheart by earning over $175 million and $150 million respectively. He then helped convert Anne Hathaway into a Roberts-hopeful of the 2000s with his other two major success stories, The Princess Diaries, which earned around $100 million dollars each. By reteaming with his biggest playmakers (and then some), Marshall has a good chance of returning to the century club.

The actual “story” in films like these can be pretty hard to pin down. The basic through-line here is that Valentine’s Day follows a group of Los Angelinos who experience somewhat intertwining events through vast jumps in plausibility all during Hallmark’s favorite day of the year.

With near certainty, we can predict that someone in the massive cast will cheat on their significant other, someone will fall in love for the first time, someone will show their child what it means to love, and someone grieving over a loss will find love when it is most unexpected. The trick with these films is finding the proper balance between the many stars and finding the right stories on which to focus. For the stars, it is a two-fold win, as they get to add a solid, if uninspired hit, to their resumes, while performing the equivalent of a glorified cameo.

Valentine’s Day marks another step in an unexpected but savvy direction for New Line Cinemas. The studio built its reputation on films like Nightmare On Elm Street and more recently, the male-targeted Rush Hour, Austin Powers, and LOTR franchises. In recent years, though, New Line has developed a string of female-driven hits like The Notebook, Monster-In-Law, Hairspray, and the uber-successful Sex and the City. Expect this one to scale similar heights as those hits, especially considering it will likely play out like the perfect date film – after all, how many girls will want to go stag to a film entitled Valentine’s Day? (Joshua Pasch/BOP)

Vital statistics for Valentine's Day
Main Cast Jessica Alba, Kathy Bates, Jessica Biel
Supporting Cast Bradley Cooper, Eric Dane, Patrick Dempsey, Hector Elizondo, Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Garner, Topher Grace, Anne Hathaway, Ashton Kutcher, Queen Latifah, Taylor Lautner, George Lopez, Shirley MacLaine, Emma Roberts, Julia Roberts, Taylor Swift
Director Garry Marshall
Screenwriter Katherine Fugate
Distributor Warner Bros. Pictures
Rating PG-13
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture



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