“Valentine’s Day” All-Star Gimmick?

Genres: Comedy and Holiday
Running Time: 1 hr. 57 min.
Release Date: February 12th, 2010 (wide)
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some sexual material and brief partial nudity.
Distributors: Warner Bros. Pictures Distribution

Director: Garry Marshall

JJ Rating: B-

There’s a bunch of people having a bunch of relationship stuff in one day. Some of it’s entertaining, some of it’s not. Valentine’s Day.

YES an all star cast. YES they are very good at acting. And YES Taylor Swift is not part of the all star list. She’s just on the casting list, because her acting leaves a lot to be desired. Harsh as that might be, it’s pretty sad that someone that is in her own music videos would be so bad. To me, if anything, a musician is closer to an actor than any other artistic talent. Writers do not perform. Artists don’t perform. Dancers perform but silently and therefore acting isn’t a necessary requirement (as one can see by ‘So You Think You Can Dance?’ alumni Kherington Payne in last year’s remake of Fame). Swift would come on the screen and start talking like she was an airhead and I would cringe because it was not at all believable. Reese Witherspoon must have made Legally Blond’s character Elle look simple to accomplish. It is times like this that I hope people realize that acting isn’t as easy as it looks, and that actors and actresses actually have a part in creating a movie more than just following direction. Everyone else on this cast did a great job of acting. EVERYONE. My favorites would be Queen Latifah, Topher Grace, Jennifer Garner, Anne Hathaway, Carter Jenkins, Jessica Biel, Eric Dane, Bryce Robinson, Shirley MacLaine and Julia Roberts. Had it not been for the cast, this movie would have failed terribly. The story alone isn’t strong enough to stand on its own, not even as a TV movie let alone a plot for a TV show. In essence this film relied on an All-Star Gimmick in order to succeed and it worked.

The funny thing is I would see this film again. The reason? The cast is charming. I can see why people like it, but they are not paying attention to it just like they don’t pay much attention to what’s going on in Avatar. The sparkle of the CGI captivates their eyes and they ignore the story that was somewhere in the background mocking them for how they pretend it’s something they’ve never seen before. What happens in Valentine’s Day is cliché after cliché after cliché, but it’s clichés that are presented by actors and actresses that people like and there-in-lies the magic, there-in-lies the draw, and there-in-lies the All-Star Gimmick.

I did not learn much from seeing Valentine’s Day. What I already knew was that acting is a talent and that many people, including myself, just don’t have the knack for it. Taylor Swift’s lacking reinforced my argument that no matter how crazy Tom Cruise and Mel Gibson might be in their life, on film they deliver. Swift is polite, sweet, awesome and a fantastic talent in her life, but on screen she is a dud and I don’t see her being able to grow like Mandy Moore or like my snail-pal Channing Tatum. I guess I learned the answer to the following question: How do you mask a crappy script? Sprinkle Stars all over it and what was once a made for TV movie will turn into a blockbuster!

I like stories with a cast like this. I like stories with multiple storylines being connected in some way. I liked Crash. I don't like stories that are lacking creative flair and take a long time to tell when the main genre seems to be comedy. Valentine’s Day lacks, but if you are interested in seeing it because of the cast then you’ll be entertained enough to scoff at my denouncement. I am well aware of that possibility. After all this is my view and who am I but someone that wanted to share? I don’t have any All-Star Gimmick to pull out to make my opinion that much sweeter; sorry.

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