Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day

2010, PG-13, 125 min. Directed by Garry Marshall. Starring Jessica Alba, Jessica Biel, Bradley Cooper, Eric Dane, Patrick Dempsey, Hector Elizondo, Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Garner, Topher Grace, Anne Hathaway, 
Ashton Kutcher, Queen Latifah, Taylor Lautner, George Lopez, Shirley MacLaine, Emma Roberts, Julia Roberts, Taylor Swift.

REVIEWED By Kimberley Jones, Fri., Feb. 12, 2010

Three-quarters through Valentine’s Day, director Marshall pops in for a seconds-long cameo as a mariachi band player. At the sneak screening, you could feel a little ripple go through the crowd – sort of a “ha!” coupled with an “aww!” But when I scrolled through Marshall’s credits after the film, I couldn’t figure out what the crowd – sentimental bastards, all of us – were smiling at: Have we not seen his IMDb rapsheet? Yes, yes, we’ll always have Marshall’s Happy Days and Laverne & Shirley, even Pretty Woman, a film that has aged as poorly as I imagine your average Hollywood Boulevard hooker does – those not rescued by a pinstriped Prince Charming, that is. But what has Marshall done for us in the 20 years since? Raising Helen. The Other Sister. Exit to Eden. Valentine’s Day never embarrasses in the way those film do, but that’s not much of a recommendation, is it? Aggressively unfunny and unromantic, Valentine’s Day’s chief concern appears to have been the corralling of its cast of a thousand stars; it seems far less attention was paid to what to do with that cast once assembled. There are so many boldfaced names that each is reduced to minutelong blips here and there; there’s no room for character development, so the filmmakers must hook us in via the extraordinariness of the action or the enduring appeal of the actor. On the first count, Valentine’s Day is a big bust: Screenwriter Katherine Fugate (The Prince & Me) invents one unenlightened scenario after another, then crisscrosses them in ways that are corny, not clever. (That the film’s one gay relationship exists for “gotcha!” purposing alone indicates how unengaged with the real world Fugate’s script is.) There are standouts in the cast – Hathaway plays way against type as a glammy poetess moonlighting as a phone-sex operator, while the likable Kutcher and Garner, as best friends ostensibly in love with other people, emerge as the only real relationship worth following. Is there fleeting entertainment in watching so many stars share the screen? Maybe, but what’s the use of a supergroup if the music it puts out is sucky?

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Valentine's Day
What Kind of Austin Dater Are You?
What Kind of Austin Dater Are You?
Try our handy dandy love quiz and find out where you should spend V-Day

Emily Beyda, Feb. 13, 2020

12 Things to Do for Single Austinites This Valentine's Day
12 Things to Do for Single Austinites This Valentine's Day
Doggos, food, drink, and more for your single and ready-to-mingle self

Emily Beyda, Feb. 6, 2019

More Valentine's Day
What’cha Watchin’?
What’cha Watchin’?
Account Executive Marisa Mirabal sets up your anti-valentine

Marisa Mirabal, Feb. 9, 2018

Wine of the Week
Wine of the Week
Wines for lovers

Wes Marshall, Feb. 10, 2012

More Garry Marshall Films
Mother's Day
The movie is a moneymaking contrivance, just like the holiday itself

Marjorie Baumgarten, April 29, 2016

New Year's Eve
Did you see Garry Marshall's last all-star movie Valentine's Day? This is the same silly claptrap, just a different holiday.

Kimberley Jones, Dec. 9, 2011

More by Kimberley Jones
Recipe: Percolator Punch
Recipe: Percolator Punch
This heavenly smelling treat is a great alternative to apple cider

Nov. 26, 2021

We Have an Issue: Artistic Creation Can Happen Anywhere
We Have an Issue: Artistic Creation Can Happen Anywhere
TikTok viral hitmakers, an old-school columnist who writes to live – this week it’s all about making art no matter what

Nov. 26, 2021

KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

Valentine's Day, Garry Marshall, Jessica Alba, Jessica Biel, Bradley Cooper, Eric Dane, Patrick Dempsey, Hector Elizondo, Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Garner, Topher Grace, Anne Hathaway, 
Ashton Kutcher, Queen Latifah, Taylor Lautner, George Lopez, Shirley MacLaine, Emma Roberts, Julia Roberts, Taylor Swift

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle