It’s hard to not immediately want to draw comparisons to “Love Actually” when you’re bombarded with an overcrowded all-star ensemble featuring the likes of Julia Roberts, Jennifer Garner, Shirley MacLaine, Ashton Kutcher, Jamie Foxx, Jessica Alba, Anne Hathaway and Patrick Dempsey (to name but a few). The list goes on and on. And on. As you can expect there are multiple sub-plots, too many couples, singles, and lots of intertwining story-lines. In a nutshell, what happens to this “diverse group of Los Angelenos” centres around their own personal experiences of romance and disaster on Valentine’s day.
Kate (Julia Roberts) is an on-leave army officer and passenger on a flight to L.A where she meets and strikes up a friendship with Holden (Bradley Cooper) a fellow passenger. Reed (Ashton Kutcher) is a loveblind florist who proposes to his girlfriend, Morley (Jessica Alba), and is faced with a dilemma when he discovers that his best friend, Julia (Jennifer Garner), is seeing a married man named Harrison (Patrick Dempsey). Liz (Anne Hathaway) works as an assistant at a famous talent agency (and sex-phone operator on the side), and is dating post-boy Jason (Topher Grace). Estelle (Shirley MacLaine) is a doting grandmother and retiree who reveals a shocking secret to her long-time husband, Edgar (Hector Elizondo). Kara (Jessica Biel) works as a publicist and struggles with being dateless on Valentine’s Day but meets Kelvin Briggs (Jamie Foxx), a TV Reporter whose assignment, much to his dismay, is to document Valentine’s day.
“Big mistake. Big. Huge”. Well, that might be a tad harsh for Marshall’s latest romantic offering but it’s not a far cry from the truth. With such a stellar line-up, this had the potential to be great, but there was nothing remotely meaty or interesting for any of the actors to sink their teeth into. Whilst there were some moving scenes centred around the MacLaine/Elizondo and Garner/Kutcher story-lines and humorous gags and quips by Hathaway, Latifah and Foxx, they really weren’t enough to save this flick from being one big forget-me-not. V-Day could have benefited from losing some of that Hollywood bulk by shedding a few characters altogether and screenwriter Katherine Fugate’s constant criss-crossing between story-lines impeded the overall flow of the movie. Coming in at a whopping 125 minutes, there still wasn’t enough time for much-needed character development and yet it still felt like it dragged!
A very clichéd, fragmented and lacklustre movie at best.
Valentine’s Day is out on general release on Friday 12th February and keep your eyes peeled for coverage fom the UK press conference which should go live on Friday (release date).