Review in a Hurry: So many stars go whizzing by, the flick is more like Space Mountain: No cohesive story, but kinda fun nonetheless.
The Bigger Picture: Meet Liz (Anne Hathaway), a phone-sex operator dating a mail-room dude (Topher Grace). And now meet Julia (Jennifer Garner), a teacher falling for a married cardiologist (Patrick Dempsey) while being crushed on by an elementary school boy. And now say hi to Some Girl (Emma Roberts), who is trying to lose her virginity with That Guy Over There.
And that's—literally—not even the half of it.
Valentine's Day isn't so much a story as it is a very tightly packed box of mash notes, each one telling a story about a pair of adorable people making their way through the pinkest and second most commercial day of the year.
Each subplot is pretty predictable—or, at least, it should be. One third-act reveal managed to shock the audience at a recent screening, despite some pretty overt clues. But veteran director Garry Marshall (Pretty Woman) isn't really about the surprises in the chocolate box. He's more interested in reminding us about how sweet it all is.
To the movie's credit, Valentine's Day is packed with talent; we haven't even gotten to the oddly funny Taylor Swift , or legendary Shirley MacLaine, or the perfectly serviceable Ashton Kutcher and Jessica Biel—or actual A-lister Julia Roberts.
With few exceptions, Marshall presents each star at the maximum of his or her talents; in the few precious moments when Roberts owns the screen, she also owns the whole movie.
But in the end, the movie's star cast is more of a curse than a blessing. Just as one actor manages to capture our hearts on sheer charisma alone (like I said, the stories aren't exactly original), Marshall jerks us away and into another minidrama. And we can't help feeling like we're jumping back into the dating pool all over again.
The 180—a Second Opinion: If you adore flicks like Love, Actually, you should like this just fine.
See who put a ring on what in our Celeb Weddings We Can't Wait For gallery!