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Valentine’s Day

Skip This Holiday Dud

Jennifer Garner and Ashton Kutcher in

Credit: New Line Cinema

Above: Jennifer Garner and Ashton Kutcher in "Valentine's Day"

Here’s my greeting card review of “Valentine’s Day” (opened February 12 throughout San Diego): Roses are red, violets are blue, this movie sucks, even more than "New Moon."

How do I hate thee, let me count the ways… one, Ashton Kutcher; two, contrived plot; three, pandering, asinine script; four, enough sappy sentiment to induce a coma; five, predictable to the point of boredom…

Imagine my disappointment when I went to “Valentine’s Day” and instead of seeing a sequel to “My Bloody Valentine,” it turned out to be a Hollywood romantic comedy. Yikes! Now there’s something that truly scares me. I have already confessed to viewing contemporary romantic comedies as the lowest form of cinematic life so feel free to take what I have to say with a grain of salt. But even my friend who IS a fan of romantic comedy was almost driven from his seat by this offensive romantic fluff.

Photo caption:

Photo credit: New Line Cinema

"Valentine's Day"

“Valentine’s Day” serves up a massive cast for a multi-character, multi-plot romantic extravaganza that neatly ties up every single plot strand in a pretty pink and red bow. But director Garry Marshall must know something about the masses because he had viewers responding like Pavlov’s dogs to his cues. Two little kids kissed and the whole audience in unison went, “Ooooh!” An old couple kissed and they went, “Aaaaah!” A cute shot of a puppy and they were back to “Ooooooh!” Taylor Lautner (of “New Moon” fame) about to take his shirt of, and squeals of delight. (Sorry “Twilighters” he keeps his shirt on this time.) So obviously there were some in the audience that were quite pleased with the formulaic slop.

Another problem I had was with the film is Ashton Kutcher being the anchor for the multi-stranded story. Everything revolves around this goof? Really? The film made me yearn for the more sublime and stylish romantic musings of Wong Kar Wai. Even his flawed “My Blueberry Nights” had more genuine romance and charm than this.

“Valentine’s Day,” as it’s unadorned title might imply, has a script that could have been written by the guys who write greeting cards, it’s that simplistic and obvious. But because we have something like a dozen stars (everyone from Julia Roberts and Shirley MacLaine to George Lopez and Bradley Cooper) the film runs more than two hours, since each celeb needs enough screen time to play out his or her cliché. Heck, “Beverly Hills Chihuahua” (featuring Lopez’ voice) was a better more engaging romantic comedy. “Valentine’s Day” cops out to every romantic cliché in the book and then adds on top of that clunky contrivances, the worst involving a wholly unconvincing gay relationship. The gay characters in this film are only gay as a gimmick and that’s stupid and unconvincing. The script by a trio of writers attempts to please every possible demographic: African American, elderly, kids, teens, gays, straights, Latinos, entrpreneurs... well you get the idea.

“Valentine’s Day” (rated PG-13 for some sexual material and brief partial nudity) should have been rated U for unwatchable. That’s two hours of my life I won’t get back and now I just wasted another. Please don’t make it even worse by paying to see this film and thereby encouraging Hollywood to make more crap like it. Gamble instead on “Saint John of Las Vegas” or “District B13 Ultimatum” – two indie films that are much more deserving of your hard earned dollars.

Companion viewing: “My Blueberry Nights,” “Chungking Express,” “Love Crazy,” "Beverly Hills Chihuahua”

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