Valentine’s Day (Dir: Garry Marshall)

Published

Luke James

Valentine’s Day, directed by Garry Marshall, stars almost every romcom American actor you can think of. From Ashton Kutcher to Julia Roberts, the list is almost endless. The story is about what multiple couples are doing on Valentine’s Day.

From the get go, it would seem that Valentine’s Day is attempting to be an American version of Love, Actually, and in fact, this is its greatest downfall. Some of the stories seem so similar that it feels as if the casting agent for Love, Actually said no to some of these stars and they just decided to be in the rip-off version instead. A story that revolves around a grandfather and his grandson is so reminiscent of Liam Neeson’s character in Love, Actually that if you shut your eyes for a second you would think that you were watching an unreleased Neeson scene.

Its key problem is that the two main characters (if there even are two main roles in such a sea of faces), played by Ashton Kutcher and Jennifer Garner, are clearly supposed to be glue for the rest of the ensemble, yet are just not likable enough. The story between them is tired and sometimes Kutcher feels more like he is performing an episode of Punk’d than the lead in a movie.

It’s not terrible, however, it will not blow you away either. For men, it is likely to get them in their girlfriend’s good books for going to see it but at the same time, women will be disappointed as well since there are so many better romantic comedies available on DVD. The jokes, although few and far between, are there and will make you smile, but are unlikely to have you rolling around on the floor holding your sides.

In particular the story that revolves around Anne Hathaway and Topher Grace’s respective characters is memorable and builds unique laughs. What’s more, this story is interesting because the characters are more realistic, more human than many of the others in the film, and their insecurities are developed alongside the continuing jokes. And as well as this, the story is not another case of Richard Curtis plagiarism, which is truly remarkable.

Valentine’s Day’s big problem is its lack of originality. Yet, with Hollywood seeming to lack this as a whole at the moment, maybe the film should be seen just as symptom rather than cause. Needless to say, if you want a romantic Garry Marshall film to please a lady, stick with Pretty Woman.