Yikes. We all knew that the new overstuffed, all-star ensemble Love Actually rip-off Valentine's Day was going to be bad — Topher Grace and Taylor Swift?? — but not this bad. The reviews are in and they are, mostly, scathing.
Valentine's Day assembles a bouquet of blooming celebrity movie stars including Julia Roberts, Ashton Kutcher, Jessica Alba, Taylor Swift, Taylor Lautner, and Jamie Foxx, shuffles them in skits about love gone right and wrong, and hopes you won't notice that every skit is lame, every line of dialogue is stale, every joke falls flat, and every performance has been phoned in between text messages to agents blinking, ''SOS!'' Durable shlockmaster director Garry Marshall (Pretty Woman, Runaway Bride) and the industrial team that welded the interlocking story pieces into a screenplay that could be translated into Na'Vi without losing nuance have done the impossible: They've made attractive stars boring, and reduced love relationships to the weight of a box of Altoids.
The best and really only sensible thing to say about the dire romantic comedy "Valentine's Day," which is neither romantic nor remotely comedic, is that it makes you appreciate and long for the breeziness, acting and basic competency - the decent lighting, focused cameras and choreographed action - of "Love Actually," the ingratiating British movie it transparently and ineptly rips off.
Yes. The very idea of big, dumb, cheesy Americans trying to improve upon what is, let's be honest, the finest big-ticket rom-com made in the last ten years (sure that's not saying a lot these days, but still) is extremely irksome.
"Valentine's Day" is being marketed as a Date Movie. I think it's more of a First-Date Movie. If your date likes it, do not date that person again. And if you like it, there may not be a second date.
But, oho!, what's this? A positive review? Yes, indeed. A couple of critics seemed to actually mildly enjoy the film. Suspiciously, two of them were from California, from the LA Times and the San Francisco Chronicle. Mick LaSalle, of the latter paper, had this to say:
At its worst - fortunately, the movie is not often at its worst - there are moments of fake sincerity and even flat-out dishonesty: Sometimes characters do things they would not do and neglect to say things that they absolutely would say. But these flaws are more than balanced by an appealing atmosphere that pervades the whole movie, an almost holiday feeling. The running time is 125 minutes, a lot for a romantic comedy, but the minutes fly by.
OK, that still sounds kind of bad. 125 minutes? Jimminy Christmas! That's a whole lotta manufactured American love junk. We're intrigued about the film for only one plotline: McSteamy from Grey's Anatomy plays a secretly gay NFL star who decides to come out and smooch with boyfriend Bradley Cooper. Other than that, though? The Two Taylors can suck it. Though, judging from the picture above, it looks like they already are.