Sweet, sentimental romcom

2010-02-15 00:00

I’LL be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I sat down to watch the romantic comedy, Valentine’s Day. I figured that while it might boast a who’s who of Hollywood big names, that didn’t guarantee it was going to be brilliant.

I was right about that — it’s not the best movie of the year, but it’s fun to watch and none of the star names try to out-muscle each other for the spotlight.

The real star, if I can single one out, is Ashton Kutcher, who plays romantic florist Reed, who starts the day proposing to his girlfriend Morley (Jessica Alba). But while he’s thrilled that she’s accepted, his friends — Alphonso (George Lopez) and Julia Fitzpatrick (Jennifer Garner) — are surprised that she’s done so. Morley, you see, is very career-oriented. She even wakes up to Reed’s proposal holding a Blackberry in her hand.

Primary school teacher Julia, meanwhile, has a seemingly wonderful new man in her life, Dr Harrison Copeland (Grey’s Anatomy’s Patrick Dempsey). Unfortunately, it turns out he is too good to be true.

The interconnecting storylines also feature a 10-year-old boy, Edison (Bryce Robinson), who has a crush on someone in his class; and his grandparents, Estelle and Edgar, played by veteran stars Shirley MacLaine and Hector Elizondo. The couple have been together for more than 50 years and have celebrated many Valentine’s days, but this particular one brings some surprising revelations that test their marriage.

Then there’s Edison’s teenage baby­sitter, Grace (Emma Roberts), who has decided to take her romance with her boyfriend, Alex (Carter Jenkins), to the next level, but things don’t quite go to plan.

But it’s not all hearts and kisses. Some of the characters are decidely anti-Valentine’s Day. There’s Jamie Foxx as sports reporter Kelvin Johnson, who finds himself interviewing people in the streets about the most romantic day of the year when all he really wants is to get an exclusive on the future of star professional quarterback Sean Jackson (Eric Dane of Grey’s Anatomy), whose career is in doubt since his team lost in the playoffs.

Sean Jackson’s publicist, Kara Monahan (Jessica Biel), is another person who finds February 14 something of an ordeal and hosts a “I Hate Valentine’s Day” party for people, like herself, who are perennially single on a day designed for couples.

Bradley Cooper’s character, Holden, is also not that keen on Valentine’s Day, having just split from his partner. He reveals as much to U.S. Army Captain Kate Hazeltine (Julia Roberts) as the two of them fly to LA.

Kate tells him she is on a short leave and is flying 14 hours to make an important rendezvous, although she never says with whom. When all is revealed it’s one of the most touching scenes in the movie.

Valentine’s Day is sentimental and sweet, a bit like a visual Hallmark card, but it never apologises for that fact. So I suggest that you put aside your cynicism for a couple of hours and simply enjoy the ride. I did.

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