I hate Valentine's Day. The chocolates, the flowers, the horrible jewelry store ads that make every man I know cringe. No holiday is more superficial and full of fake emotion than this one. It's a day that feel completely fabricated, with the express purpose of forcing you to feel a certain way and opening your wallet to steal as much money from you as possible. It's interesting that the movie Valentine's Day feels the exact same way as the holiday it's named after.
Strangely enough, this movie reminded me of a film that is almost its antithesis: Robert Altman's Short Cuts. Both films take large, star-studded casts and follow their characters through interwoven stories with Los Angeles as their backdrop. This, however, is where the similarities end. While I was not a huge fan of Altman's film, it also wasn't the gimmick that Valentine's Day is. The over three hour running time of Short Cuts allowed the director to give the audience the space to get to know the characters and to get into the drama of their situations. Valentine's Day is just under two hours, and with a cast even larger than Short Cuts, there's even less time to become connected to the characters and stories.
This doesn't even matter, as director Garry Marshall and writer Katherine Fugate aren't really interested in making a movie that has drama or tensions (or comedy for that matter). They rely on stupid gags, sub-Hallmark ruminations on love, and stargazing to get them by. "Hey look, it's Julia Roberts! Oh, now she's gone, and it's Jamie Foxx! Look, that guy from 'That 70s Show'!" It all goes by so quickly that you don't really have the time to stop and think how this is all just a frothy, messy bit of nothing. For me, it's the visual equivalent of a box of See's Candy: I'm not really happy to see it in the first place, but I'll get through that first candy because I have to. By the second piece, I'm just wishing for it all to be over.