Movies are from Earth, “Valentine’s Day” is from Mars. “Valentine’s Day” is a strained romcom drawn from disparate strands, like hair in the drain after a shower, or spaghetti in the sink strainer the morning after pasta. “Valentine’s Day” is a delivery vehicle for the coming attractions for “Sex and the City 2.” “Valentine’s Day” stars Jessica Alba, Kathy Bates, 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, Larry Miller, Serena Poon, Paul Williams, Tracy Reiner, Hannah Storm, Rance Howard and Kiko Kiko. “Valentine’s Day” has so many roles for nondescript actors with only a single line, you know the director has lots of friends who need to renew their SAG qualifications to keep their health insurance. “Valentine’s Day” is a feat of production management: all those actors show up for only a few hours and their scenes are intercut and you’ve got “Grand Hotel.” “Valentine’s Day” is so teemingly unfunny, it’s more like “Roach Motel.” “Valentine’s Day” makes kissing look unpleasant, desire mechanical, saccharine a kind of soma. “Valentine’s Day,” its director brags, was made quickly, cheaply, for “under $50 million.” “Valentine’s Day” demonstrates that “cheap” is a set of mind, not a price tag. “Valentine’s Day” was co-written by the team behind “He’s Just Not That Into You.” “Valentine’s Day” shows that “He’s Just Not That Into You” had a real director behind the camera. “Valentine’s Day” is directed by Garry Marshall, known for “Laverne and Shirley,” “Pretty Woman,” “The Princess Diaries” and the Dan Aykroyd-Rosie O’Donnell S&M comedy “Exit to Eden.” Wait, Garry Marshall is still alive? In the inevitable, inexorable blooper reel under the credits, Taylor Swift has an affectedly unaffected riff with Taylor Lautner that would charm the socks off an old man. “Valentine’s Day,” to paraphrase 1980s power-punk group Gang Of Four, is like V.D., you wouldn’t want to catch that. 125m. (Ray Pride)
Ray Pride is Newcity’s film critic and a contributing editor to Filmmaker magazine.
His history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” in words and images will be published in Spring 2022.