I learned a new vocabulary. Character mosaic. This film is a such. A parade of characters, sometimes merely elicit “guess that actor/actress” game response, it was a yet another attempt to cash in the one-dimensional love stories intertwined to a single city (Los Angeles) and a theme (Valentine’s Day). Change its location to New York, omit the theme, add some art house core material, and you’ve got yourself a lesser version of “New York, I Love You.”
How do we know that today is a February 14th in the film? Easy, just have everyone says it was the the busiest day of the year if you worked at a florist shop, have someone insecure enough to felt threatened by her loneliness that she had an annual “I Hate Valentine’s Day” dinner, and plenty of couples from all ages mooned over what to do or what to achieve during that ‘special’ moment. I’d say that the film has everything. Whether it is up your alley or not, I can’t tell. I guess, if you’re a newly couple looking for ways to sweeten and strengthen your relationship, this film might work. On the other hand, I, a designated skeptic and *never* celebrates Valentine’s day, with a sole exception from Bradley Cooper/Julia Roberts, saw nothing new with the rest of the film.
A sole story, the core story that has the most portion of this film is Ashton Kutcher/Jennifer Garner/Jessica Alba/Patrick Dempsey quadrangle love. The rest of the stories somehow entwined with this story in one way or another. This core story is actually not so bad. Of course, it was predictable. Everything was in this film, and millions other love stories. Duh. I was pleasantly surprised that Kutcher downplays most of his antics and deliver an okay performance (which for me, it’s an achievement for him :D), Alba is getting worse and worse with every film. Pity, I love her eyes and Garner is probably just there for the bill. She is good, though. The rest of the cast is ranging from utterly unimportant, laughable, and downright horrible (yes, I’m looking at you, Taylor Lautner/Taylor Swift) even if one of them could elicit a gasp from the teenage girl audiences by simply showing his physical asset, — well, I guess the decision to attract the demography by putting him in front right at the heels of that other film when he was a werewolf had paid off — to an enjoyable, and an okay performance. Garner, Kutcher, and more importantly, Roberts and Cooper fall within this category. Unfortunately, there’s a tendency that the performances were closer to a worse end than the other. Mostly were forgettable.
Inevitably, the film will draw a comparison with “Love Actually.” Now, I cannot say whether this film has a bigger heart than the other or otherwise. But, if I would make a comparison, I would judge the films from their respective wrapping-up scene. In the end, I remembered more from “Love Actually” even if I had seen the film years prior. I guess in that respect, I had a certain preference toward it than this film. Even so, I had a glassy eyes during Julia Roberts’ end scene. And, that’s it. Otherwise, the celebration was naught.
My rating: ** / **** All you expected from a character mosaic film. Having more recognizable faces means having a bigger assurance that at least one or two of them would worked well despite the limited time. Kudos to Cooper for being able to catch up with Roberts in her game. I’d say that the film would worked better for a newly couple (emphasis on new) looking for ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day (given they’re celebrating, that is) at the movies. The lack of alternatives helped. A lot.
P.S. My heart skips a beat when Anne Hathaway opens her apartment door. My very definition of a Goddess.