Two Stars – Entertaining
Watching the star-filled cast of Gary Marshall’s “Valentine’s Day” is the most enjoyable part of the film. Having directed several of these stars in such films as “Pretty Woman” and “Princess Diaries”, Marshall’s whimsical style takes another form as he weaves together a tapestry of love stories. However, due to his attempt to combine so many lives, the depth is missing and the love stories end up feeling more cliché than insightful.
The ensemble cast is centered on florist Reed Bennett (Ashton Kutcher). Having fallen for Morley Clarkson (Jessica Alba), Reed remembers his father’s counsel that “if he is ever with a girl that is too good for him, he should marry her”. Early in the morning of Valentine’s Day, he places a ring on her finger. It is this act that begins a romantic domino-effect that includes all the joys and sorrows that love relationships create.
Blending the stars of the small and large screens, the film boasts Kathy Bates, Jessica Biel, Patrick Dempsey, Jamie Fox, Jennifer Garner, Anne Hathaway, Queen Latifah, Taylor Swift, Julia Roberts, and many more. In the story of their intertwined love lives, there is young love, love betrayed, love unrecognized, love rejected, parental love and love fulfilled.
The central moral message is that committed love must accept the other unconditionally and forgive when necessary. But there are many other moral issues explored, from accepting a girlfriend who moonlights as an “adult phone entertainer” to the confession of an affair which happened years earlier to the decision to abstain from high school sex.
Trying to be everything to everyone reduces the film to simple entertainment. As a Valentine’s date it fills the bill, but there is little more of value to the film.
Discussion for those who have seen this film:
1. The statement by the husband who hears the confession of his wife to an affair years earlier responds to her claim that she needed to tell the truth by saying that “such truth makes everything else feel like a lie”. Have you experienced betrayal? In what ways did it change everything else about the relationship?
2. People often do not recognize that best friends make the best romantic relationships. Do you think this is true? Why or why not?
3. Having viewed the various forms of love presented here, which couple do you think would be together years from now? Why do you answer as you do?