Friday, 12 February 2010

If Movies be the Food of Love...

If movies be the food of love, then "Valentine's Day" is a massive wedding cake, complete with dinky model bride and groom on the top: unwieldy, tacky, cliched and hard to swallow, especially all by yourself.

"Valentine's Day" is one of those self-consciously intricate, multi-plot stories which follows several seemingly unconnected characters throughout their (Valentine's) day and attempts to tie all the plot strands together in various ways. It's kind of like "Magnolia" with less frogs and more flowers.

The movie takes place in some bizarre parallel universe where only beautiful people seem to exist. Kathy Bates shows up for a minute and you think "Aha! They're going to show us that the plain folk have love-lives too!" But no, she's a mere cameo in a storyline much more concerned with better looking people. I nearly cheered when Kristen Schaal (Mel from "Flight of the Conchords") showed up, thinking I was in for a storyline about the love-related trials of the incredibly bizarre-looking, but then the shot cut to Emma (Daughter of Eric, Niece of Julia) Roberts looking all young and pretty and I knew Schaal would not be the focus of this storyline, either.

The only exceptions to the "Beauties Only" rule are allowances for old people and kids. They are apparently allowed to engage in love-stories, probably because it is cute or summat. Nobody wants to see a bunch of grotty uggers drooling on each other on a big screen, do they?

This is the reason that "Valentine's Day" acts as a perfect representative of the holiday it is named after. It is a superficial, syrupy, commercialised, showy trivialisation of the deepest and most indefinable human emotion. Watching it feels like getting a massive, flashy, musical Valentine's card from someone you know is cheating on you.

All this is not necessarily to say it's a "bad" film, as such. It's simply a cynically pre-packaged, homogenised one. There are moments of amusement: Jamie Foxx gets most of the laughs, but is only onscreen for about 10 mins in total, and it's probably quite telling that one of the best lines comes from a Twilight injoke wherein Taylor Lautner claims an aversion to taking his top off in public.

Ultimately, the film remains bland and safe, the comedy is resolutely shit-sit-com level and the musings on love are uninspired and uninsightful at best. Out of all the storylines, there are no unhappy endings. So everyone gets what they deserve on Valentine's Day, right?

This is a feel-good movie for people who already feel good anyway. How you react to it may well be equated with how you would react to witnessing a public display of affection. If you would smile and think "Oh, they must be so in love", you will probably enjoy this film. If, however, PDAs make you want to puke, then this film will tip you into a chasm of despair dug by the knowledge that your entire life will never be as romantically satisfying as one predictable day in these characters' lives.

Have a Nice Valentine's Day.


  1. Nice review, it sounds quite cliche and common for a 'love film'

    I've been juggling around with the idea of doing an entry on 'love' for some time now, and I have to say, you've given me a couple of ideas (not stealing, of course)

    So, as usual, very good work :)

  2. Good review and thanks for giving me a preview of things to come. My wife is dragging me to see this sucker.

  3. Onlooker: Cheers! Good luck stealing from me!

    Geof: Hope it was worth your while!

  4. ROTFWL: You are such a cynic B&*tard!!!Lol!!!
    Ok not too much offense there, but hats raised, you're good man!