14 February 2010 | mchael_skunk
Valentine's Day is a who's who of famous people, a very Hollywood romance movie with a severe case of A.D.D. Most stars check in as if paying back some favour to the director. It is a people movie full of people for the Facebook generation. Is it serious film-making? Well, it's one of those films that has bloopers during the credits, so definitely not; so we shouldn't judge it on that. It's simply a schmaltzy whimsical chick flick. The film takes place over one fine Valentine's Day from early morning to late at night in flawless Hollywood California. We follow random individuals, who are each connected within 5 degrees of each other, as they deal with love. The movie has been marketed as being choc-block full of superstars, so lets see how they did. Kathy Bates has two scenes, I completely forgot she was in it until the second time she popped up, She is very likable as the butch TV News executive who is the boss of career driven Kelvin Moore (Jamie Foxx), a B-Grade sports commentator trying to make his mark, but given a vox-pops job. Foxx seems way too charming to be such an unlikeable character, as publicist Kara (Jessica Biel) slowly falls for him, but we're not really given enough time as we cut to florist Reed (Ashton Kutcher) a hopeless romantic who has fallen for Morley (Jessica Alba), and Julia (Jennifer Garner) in a 30-something love triangle. Garner is a teacher at a primary school where young Edison (Bryce Robinson) has his first crush, and desperately tries to send his mystery girl a special delivery. Robinson brings the cute to this movie, and holds his own against the army of celebrities he's acting with, namely Shirley MacLaine as Edison's grandmother, Estelle. Estelle is a Golden Age Actress, (MacLaine playing herself, as we see from actual footage of MacLaine in 1958's Hot Spell) who is in a fifty year marriage with Edgar (Hector Elizondo). Both performances are top notch, Elizondo arguably the best in the entire film. He is soulful, gentle, and wise. For the teens, the majority market, we have Grace and Alex (Emma Roberts and Carter Jenkins) awkwardly trying to plan the next level of their relationship in scenes right out of the American Pie book on how to write teen comedy, and Willy and Felicia (Taylor Lautner and Taylor Swift) the jock and the bimbo, who 13 to 19 year old girls will literally cheer at the screen for, yet they bring little. Swift is cringe-worthy and Lautner makes an out of place reference to his abs that is just odd in the context of the film. We also have Liz (Anne Hathaway in a solid enough comedic performance, she does funny voices) who moonlights as a phone sex operator, and hides this from boyfriend of two weeks Jason (Topher Grace, slighty less annoying than usual). Also thrown into the mix is McDreamy as the cheating swine Dr. Harrison Copeland, and McSteamy as ageing single footballer Sean Jackson. Stuck on a plane are Holden and Captain Kate Hazeltine (Bradley Cooper, and Julia Roberts), as they meet, and chat, and flirt, and seem like those two old grumpy muppets in the booth. Queen Latifah also features as Liz's evil boss Paula Thomas who delivers the biggest laugh in the movie, right at the end. Alphonso (George Lopez) also stars as Kutcher's co-worker and go-to-guy for the Valentine's Day blues. Every actor does a good enough job of playing movie versions of themselves and no one tries to steal the show or go over the top crazy, but the amount of stars in the movie work both for it and against it. It is a very unique romance film, and is good for people who are likely to get sick of the same two actors, but we really don't see enough of anyone to care, or even follow what's going on. Characters are thrown at us, and before we have a moment to connect, we cut to someone else, and this happens for two straight hours as love, romance, sex, and relationships are examined and theorized. It's like a fish bowl with way too many fish, but we get to see characters just enough to get a laugh or two in. The film tries to find the true meaning of Valentine's Day, and the true meaning of love, in a cutesy comedic way. It's modern and fun, but very shallow on the surface.