I won’t say that Valentine’s Day was bad – I’ve seen much worse, and it did deliver a few laughs and nice moments – but I can’t recommend it for more than a rental, or perhaps see it on the big screen if it moves to Woodland where you only need to pay $4 per ticket. The problem with Valentine’s Day is that it worked too hard to be another Love, Actually and it failed on a number of levels.
My biggest gripe is that there were too many separate plots going on at any one time, and they weren’t given the respect that they deserved. Multiple story lines connecting at the end of the film (and sometimes along the way) is an old but beloved plot trick that just wasn’t pulled off correctly this time. Instead of feeling like I was flicking between plots, peeking in on the characters to get an update here and there in a fairly fluid way, I felt more like I was being pushed and jerked along on an old funhouse ride, spending too much time in one story and not enough in another and just wondering when it would end so I could use the bathroom.
There was a bit of “phoning it in” as far as the acting was concerned too. Do you blame the actors or director? Tough call. Either way you look at it Jamie Foxx, Julia Roberts, and even Jessica Biel have seen much, much better days. As for Ashton Kutcher… well, this may have been one of his better performances. That said, I have hope for him in the upcoming Killers with Katherine Heigl, it looks predictable, but fun! (Wanna see the trailer?)