Directed by: Garry Marshall | 125 minutes | comedy, romance | Actors: Taylor Lautner, Bradley Cooper, Anne Hathaway, Taylor Swift, Jessica Biel, Jessica Alba, Jamie Foxx, Ashton Kutcher, Julia Roberts, Jennifer Garner, Emma Roberts, Topher Grace, Patrick Dempsey, Joe Jonas, Eric Dane, George Lopez, Queen Latifah, Shirley MacLaine, Christine Lakin, Carter Jenkins, Hector Elizondo, Gishel Rafael
“Valentine’s Day” is the highly anticipated American semi-remake of the English romantic Christmas comedy “Love Actually” (2003). It is not surprising that it took so long: a romcom in mosaic form requires above-average craftsmanship on the part of the screenwriter and director. More surprising was the commercial and artistic success of “Alles is Liefde”, the Dutch Sinterklaas version of “Love Actually”. A success that earned the film a guaranteed spot in the December 5th broadcast schedule. Rightly so.
“Valentine’s Day” is also a mosaic romcom, but it takes place during the Valentine’s Day dinner on 14 February. We follow a large number of characters who struggle with love to a greater or lesser extent. From a flower salesman whose girlfriend says ‘yes’ to everyone and everyone’s surprise, to a school teacher who loses her heart to a smooth surgeon.
The fact that this romcom is also great to enjoy, is mainly due to the scenario. “Valentine’s Day” is an example of artisan writing. The stories flow smoothly into each other, the humor is usually laughable and the characters are sufficiently elaborated to move. In addition, “Valentine’s Day” occasionally avoids the beaten path, which leads to some surprising twists and turns. The fact that not all lines and characters have been fully worked out is inherent to the form. It is not important that we get to know all facets of the characters, but that of love.
The casting department also deserves praise. A cast full of resounding names is one thing, making sure the actors really fit their characters is another. The makers have largely succeeded in this too. From Anne Hathaway as the cute and mischievous Liz and Eric Dane as the troubled sports veteran Sean, to Emma Roberts as a post-puber who has to find a place in her busy schedule for her defloration. Because that must also be done.
Cast, screenplay and cheerful tone make “Valentine’s Day” a romantic film that will allow you to spend two pleasant hours. With beautiful people, nice jokes and a long-awaited first kiss that is a bit disappointing. And with less imposed sentiment than you might expect. These qualities will undoubtedly make “Valentine’s Day” a permanent place in the broadcast schedule of February 14th. Rightly so.