You've heard all the cliches before: that Valentine's Day is more about commercialism than love, that it was created by Hallmark and Hershey's, and so on. With that in mind, I can't say I was surprised to see that Hollywood finally decided to capitalize on the holiday hubbub with a romantic comedy that's brimming with stars — but unfortunately the film provides even more proof for the argument that the holiday is for suckers.
Valentine's Day has star power at every turn, chronicling the lives of a slew of people as they navigate through the "most romantic day of the year." Jennifer Garner and Ashton Kutcher are at the epicenter as best friends Julia and Reed, and their tangled web of social contacts and random people they bump into extends (but isn't limited to) Jessica Biel, Anne Hathaway, Patrick Dempsey, Eric Dane, Bradley Cooper, Jamie Foxx, Taylor Lautner, Julia Roberts and Jessica Alba. There are more celebrities in the film than you can remember, and the sad part is that most of their onscreen counterparts are forgettable.
To see why, just
The movie has more stars than the script knows what to do with — literally. There are so many characters and simultaneous plot lines that none of the love stories (or anti-love stories, as the case may be) are developed to a satisfying level. It's obvious that Garry Marshall was more concerned with marketing than with the script, and in the end we're left with two hours crammed with pretty faces and not much else.
What makes an ensemble rom-com like Love Actually take flight is that it pulls on your heartstrings by going a bit deeper than the stars you see on the surface. Instead, we get a lineup of all the people we've seen before: there's the lovestruck kid, the best friends who don't realize they're in love (even though everyone else does), the girl who hates Valentine's Day, the high school virgins. There's nothing for the audience to sink their teeth into — and not nearly enough laughs to make up for that.
Valentine's Day is all about what's on the surface, so I'd only recommend it if you're looking to skip the real treats and indulge in some empty eye candy with your girlfriends instead.