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By Stephen Compall
May 15, 2010 10:38 AM EST

Valentine's Day Blu-ray Review

Valentine's Day Blu-ray Review
Purchase  Blu-ray | Digital HD
I have a weakness for the cross-genre "interconnecting vignettes" conceit that crops up from time to time in movies.  I count Love, Actually among my favorite romcoms, and Magnolia sits somewhere in my seven favorite films of all time.  But I dare not compare Valentine's Day to that magnificent film, nor the many lesser but still capable movies guilty of the method.

Valentine's Day is, rather, a film that you have already seen.  If you can't see what's going to happen throughout the rest of the movie by the time you get ten minutes in, go back and start over, because you're either unacquainted with American filmmaking, or you're watching it wrong.  Each overlapping tale begins with an introduction of the characters, followed shortly thereafter by revealing a gimmick that will drive that particular story during the rest of the film.

Much must be expected of these gimmicks, and little is delivered, for the movie loses momentum thereafter, as there seems to be no force to overcome the velocity-eating friction of burning out all the potential energy in front of the camera.  A precious few twists are preserved for later in the film, but they are dying embers without hope of reigniting the plot flow.  Disregarding these, the intentions of the story are so clear that you ought to be able to predict even the most nonsensical of film-ending romantic connections.

A few different mechanics are used to tie the vignettes together; they are unfailingly clumsy, and best ignored.

Much has been made, explicitly to me, of the star-studded cast.  And studded it is; you might accuse the Blu-Ray cover box, which highlights this above anything else even while hiding away the name of director and romcom crown prince Garry Marshall (Pretty Woman), of great excess, were you not so envious of the charmed place from which such a collection seems to have been divinely inspired, as surely no mere mortal could ever collect so many pretty things in one place.

I consider this to be mere casting porn though, and I am unimpressed.  I am by no means immune to casting porn; I tune in every week for Parenthood, though I have the excuse that my objects of envy are known better for acting ability than the ephemeral celebrity quality that blesses Valentine's Day's Taylor Lautner (Twilight & co.) and Taylor Swift.

A quick guide if you do not understand the internal reasoning of the subplots: Valentine's Day has a god, and it is the figurative embrace of the principles of the holiday Valentine's Day, in all their conspicuously consumptive glory.  It is a jealous god, and punishes those who lack faith, but such heathens who have merely been led astray need fear not, as it is a forgiving god, and will embrace those who choose to accept its conspicuous love.  Those who are truly evil will, however, be punished.  I suppose it is at least admirable in its consistency of principles.

One pleasant surprise came from Eric Dane (Grey's Anatomy), who submitted a fine performance of his conflicted football player.  I would have appreciated a little more time to explore this new side of a familiar actor, as I expect a fine performance from the likes of Anne Hathaway (Rachel Getting Married, not so much Bride Wars), not so much a star of a show known more for its elevators than front-of-camera believability.

The drawback here mirrors the wider failing of Valentine's Day — there is not enough time to even finish, let alone flesh out a series of stories you've already seen better told elsewhere.  In that spirit I'm just going to cut off here.  Go see Love, Actually again; that will do nicely.

Blu-Ray transfer: Video quality was as fine as one can expect from Blu-Ray; the audio was acceptable, not demanding anything that wouldn't have been served equally well by a traditional DVD format AC-3 stream.

Special features: The sampling during the ending credits won't sell you on the blooper reel, so bypass that for a quick set of deleted scenes, which divide almost evenly between filling in blatant plot gaps and unnecessary redundant exposition.  Then, see the actors talk about how important Garry Marshall was in their decision to participate in the movie, and ask yourself who would have participated knowing only of the content of the script and not the name on the director's chair.

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For more information about Valentine's Day visit the FlickDirect Movie Database.

About Stephen Compall

FlickDirect, Stephen  Compall

Ostensibly a programmer from faraway places, Stephen recognizes that making up your mind about movies and television is a simple matter of imposition in the form of review, and he who controls minds controls the world. No word yet on how that second part is progressing. After seeing many films, a few good, for FlickDirect, he returned to faraway places, but still checks in from time to time. Read more reviews and content by .

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