Maybe it’s the name, maybe it’s the weekend. More than likely it’s a combination of both. Valentine’s Day, the 2010 Garry Marshall movie, was a huge hit over the weekend, coming in as the second most popular movie globally on Amazon. The movie is led, at the start, by Jessica Alba, but make no mistake about it, the 2-hour feature is most definitely an ensemble cast.
Jessica Alba plays Morley Clarkson, who is married to her work. She wakes one morning to her boyfriend Reed, played by Ashton Kutcher, proposing to her. Morley is shocked but more shockingly is the fact that she accepts his proposal. A few hours later, Morley changes her mind. See, her career is more important.
But that’s not all. Marshall’s movie, written by scribe Katherine Fugate, tells not just Jessica Alba’s Valentine’s Day story, but many. It’s like Love, Actually on steroids. In case you haven’t seen the movie in some time, here is as quick a recap as can be done. If you haven’t seen the movie at all, there are definite SPOILERS on their way.
We’ve gone over the Ashton Kutcher/Jessica Alba scenario (for now). Kutcher works with George Lopez and is best friends with Jennifer Garner, whom he is secretly in love with but she is seeing a secretly married man in Patrick Dempsey. Garner is an elementary school teacher who has a student with a crush on her, causing havoc for his grandparents, played by Hector Elizondo and Shirley MacLaine. Emma Roberts plays the young boy’s babysitter, who has plans on losing her virginity on Valentine’s Day, which makes her friends, Taylor Swift and Taylor Lautner, very happy. Garner’s best girlfriend, played by Jessica Biel, is a sports manager who manages an NFL quarterback, played by Eric Dane. His agent, played by Queen Latifah, employs a temp, played by Anne Hathaway, who is dating a fella in the mailroom in Topher Grace. Jamie Foxx is on board as a sports journalist whose boss, Kathy Bates, forces him to do a Valentine’s Day segment, which doesn’t make Foxx happy, that is until Dane comes out of the closet to win back his estranged boyfriend, played by Bradley Cooper, who spends his entire time of the movie on an airplane sitting next to a soldier, played by Julia Roberts. WHEW!
That is a lot of movie going on here. In fact, the biggest complaint of this movie, besides its obvious rip-off of Love, Actually, is that there is too much movie going on here. As you can see, there are a lot of A-listers here. There just isn’t enough time, so the critics say, to give them their proper due.
The Jessica Alba storyline is too contrived. When she wakes with her Blackberry in her hand, we know immediately what she is all about and how exactly that relationship is going to play out. Of course, none of this is Alba’s fault, even though she took the role. But it is a choice that sort of defines her career. Fun roles mixed in with some questionable ones. With a career that dates back some 27-years, the still young 39-year-old has had her share of hits and misses. We can count Sin City and Frank Miller’s Sin City: A Dame to Kill For as hits. We can also toss in, reluctantly, Fantastic Four and Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer as hits. Come on, they weren’t that bad, were they? She has Honey and even the TV series’ Dark Angel and L.A’s Finest in her win column. But then there are the stinkers such as The Love Guru and Good Luck Chuck. It’s been an up and down career for Alba.
Valentine’s Day premiered over the holiday weekend in 2010 as the number one film. Even though the critical response was brutal, the Jessica Alba film posted a modest $216.5 million at the box office. Not bad for a movie that holds an 18% favorable rating by critics on Rotten Tomatoes and a less than impressive 47% audience rating.
Over the years, though, audiences are beginning to appreciate the film a little more, with more and more positive comments being written about it. Whether it’s giving in to the romantic notion of the Valentine’s Day holiday or the simple fact that fans are beginning to see the movie for what it really is. A harmless romantic comedy with an impressive ensemble cast and connecting storylines with mostly satisfying payoffs. Give it a try and let us know what you think.