Valentine’s Day

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Valentine’s Day

Runtime: 117 Minutes
Not for Children

Jennifer Garner and Ashton Kutcher in Warner Bros. Pictures’ “Valentine’s Day” (2010).

This movie is getting roasted by critics, with a 16% rating on RottenTomatoes.com, as of this writing. So it’s appropriate to set forth my expectations going in, which were low. I’ve not been an admirer of the talents of Jennifer Garner or Anne Hathaway. I’m really not too fond of ensemble casts of stars. And although Garry Marshall has directed some pretty funny movies, like “Overboard” (1987), and at least one that rose above the norm in lots of people’s minds, “Pretty Woman” (1990), he’s also been involved with some turkeys like “Princess Diaries 2, Royal Engagement” (2004). So I was expecting dreck.
But Marshall has a nice touch here. For one thing, he loads the film with terrific shots of Los Angeles. The locations include Marina del Rey, the Hollywood Freeway, the fountain at Wilshire & Santa Monica Blvds. in Beverly Hills, the Venice Canals, and the Hollywood sign, among many others.
In addition to Garner and Hathaway, the cast also includes Ashton Kutcher and Topher Grace, both of whom live up to the potential they have shown in the past. So for me to say that two of the best things about this movie are Garner and Hathaway, I’m not damning with faint praise. Both give rewarding performances, Garner as a woman in love with a creep, Patrick Dempsey, who keeps his happy marriage a secret from Garner, and Hathaway, who plays a receptionist doubling as a phone sex operator. She falls for Grace, but even when she’s out on a date with the clueless Grace, the phone keeps ringing…
The cast is a who’s who of Hollywood including, in addition to the foregoing, Shirley McLaine, Jamie Foxx, Queen Latifah, Jessica Biel, Kathy Bates, Bradley Cooper, Taylor Swift, George Lopez, and Julia Roberts. In one way or another, all are involved in some sort of love relationship.
There are a few plot holes, but one that shouted out at me was when two people are listening to “Mike and Mike in the Morning” on ESPN radio as they are driving along in their car with the sun shining brightly. However, “Mike and Mike in the Morning” is on from 3 a.m. to 7 a.m. in Los Angeles.
One puzzling aspect of the movie is that it contains a love relationship between two gay men. In the Elizabethan Era, men played the roles of women because women were forbidden to appear onstage. When that taboo was lifted, men ceased playing women. Hollywood does not cast white actors to play black people, or vice-versa. No longer does it cast Caucasians to play Asians, like it did when Warner Oland and Sidney Toler played Charlie Chan and Peter Lorre played Mr. Moto in the ‘30s and ‘40s.
However, recent movies have cast men who have a reputation of being heterosexual in real life to play gay roles. In this film, the actors portraying the gay men are, from all we know, heterosexual. But in today’s enlightened and politically correct Hollywood, there is an abundance of gay actors. Nobody could ever accuse Hollywood of being anti-gay, so If Hollywood wants to portray a gay relationship, why doesn’t it cast gay actors to portray those parts?
This might be a trifle, but it’s an entertaining trifle.

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