Valentine's Day

Starring Julia Roberts, Ashton Kutcher, Jennifer Garner, Shirley MacLaine, Hector Elizondo, Jamie Foxx, Queen Latifah and Patrick Dempsey. Directed by Garry Marshall.
Rated M (sexual references). 124 mins.

It's really a 2 hour plus movie equivalent of valentine's day cards, posters and romantic gifts, roses and chocolates and dinner dates, in fact, the date movie par excellence. It was made for the romantic audience at the multiplex for a light night out. To that extent, it is critic proof.

This is a Los Angeles story, so geared principally for US audience sensibility, more extraverted than introverted. There is a lot of travel in and around LA , especially with the delivery of flowers as the shop at the centre of the film has a busy, busy day. (Even Julia Roberts is seen in a stretch limousine at Rodeo Drive and the chauffeur asks her whether she has ever shopped there and she replies that she did once and it was a big, a huge mistake – that joke is in the final credits!)
So, Julia Roberts, not in so many films in recent years, is one reason to see the film even if for most of it she is sitting next to Bradley Cooper on a long haul flight. It is probably the rather starry cast appearing in quite a number of stories which are gradually interlinked that is the main reason for buying a ticket to see it. And, it depends on whether you like the stars or not.

The film opens with Ashton Kutcher, which seemed something of a bad move, but he is at the centre of the story, proposing to Jessica Alba, helping his best friend, teacher Jennifer Garner, who is in a relationship with Patrick Dempsey (but you know something is wrong). Actually, Ashton Kutcher's character is rather nice as is Jennifer Garner so there is a pleasant happy/sad story there. Oldies will appreciate Shirley MacLaine and Hector Elizondo (who has appeared in every Garry Marshall film for nearly 30 years). There is also Jamie Foxx, Queen Latifah and Jessica Biel, Eric Dane for Grey's Anatomy fans, let alone Patrick Dempsey, Taylor Swift for the music fans appearing with Taylor Lautner for the Twlight fans. For the young adults there is Anne Hathaway with Topher Grace. Something for everyone – even Bryce Robinson, aged about seven who has a crush on... (no spoiling the plot!).

At the beginning, TV executive Kathy Bates orders sports reporter Jamie Foxx to go out and report on Valentine's Day from people in the street – and tells him she wants plenty of 'fluff'. So that is what this film is, plenty of dream fantasy, plenty of romantic fluff.

Roadshow Out February 11 

Fr Peter Malone MSC directs the film desk of SIGNIS: the World Association of Catholic Communicators, and is an associate of the Australian Catholic Office for Film & Broadcasting.

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