Valentine’s Day follows the lives of about 20 Angelenos for one day – Valentine’s Day! Some find love, some lose love, and others do their best to completely ignore love. Along the way we discover that all the various characters are inter-connected and that each move taken affects the lives of others. If this sounds familiar that’s because you’ve seen it before. Valentine’s Day is essentially a bad re-make of the 2003 romantic classic, Love Actually. The cast is loaded with huge stars like Julia Roberts, Jamie Foxx and Shirley MacLaine but I get the distinct feeling that all the talent was added to disguise the weak script. The acting is superb and that there are some fun scenes but unfortunately, the film is dead on arrival.
My main problem is the time-line of the film. I understand that the entire concept is to have everything happen on one Valentine’s Day but it’s beyond realistic that some of these stories would encompass the entire dramatic structure from exposition to dénouement all in one day. For example, at the beginning of the day Reed (Ashton Kutcher) is engaged to and madly in love with Morley (Jessica Alba). At the same time Julia (Jennifer Garner) is seriously involved with Harrison (Patrick Dempsey). Yet by the end of the day, both Reed and Julia have been betrayed by their significant others and end up together. Really? If Dr. McDreamy cheated on me I would need a week of crying, ice cream, and seclusion at the very least before moving on to someone new.
Something similar happens to Edgar (Hector Elizondo) and Estelle (Shirley MacLaine). They’re a pair of happy grandparents – or so we think. Then Estelle admits to having an extra-marital affair. Hector gets pretty angry but his fury only lasts a few hours. By the end of the night he’s forgiven her and they’re back to playing the happy grandparents. Really? Seriously?
I think the audience is supposed to be surprised and delighted whenever we discover another connection between the characters. But it really annoyed me. I’ve lived in Los Angeles my entire life and you don’t just run into people like that. I rarely even see my neighbors yet somehow Jessica Biel works for Eric Dane who’s involved with Bradley Cooper who randomly meets Julia Roberts whose son’s teacher is Jennifer Garner who is best friends with Jessica Biel. Really?! It’s just all so absolutely absurd. Sometimes a movie will have a certain amount of magic that will allow me to overlook its considerable short-comings. Valentine’s Day is chock full of stars but entirely lacking in that magic.
Valentine’s Day arrives on Blu-ray with a 1080p VC-1 encode framed at 1.85:1. I was expecting much more from Valentine’s Day than this transfer, but this will have to suffice. While it’s not the best transfer out there is far from being the worst. The image looked flat for majority of the film leaving some of the fine details out. The skin tones took a rather red look. Black colors tend to overwhelm the image at some points during the film, but for the most part they are well reproduced. Overall this transfer looks fine.
Valentine’s Day arrives on Blu-ray with a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio lossless track. While it won’t wow the viewers the track does a perfect job with the task at hand. The film is dialog driven so don’t expect many loud effects. The dialogue is clear for the majority of the film except in a few scenes were it sounds rather bad. The atmospherics are cleanly heard and reproduced whenever needed. The musical score sounds excellent. For what is worth, this track sounds great for this type of film.
The supplements don’t add anything to the movie that helped me enjoy it more than I otherwise would have. They’re just there to add some fluff to the disc. I really didn’t need to waste an hour of my life watching them.
The Stars Confess Their Valentine’s Day Stories – In the film, Jamie Foxx has to go out and interview people around LA about their Valentine experiences. He really hates doing it but it’s part of his job as a reporter. In this featurette , the numerous stars of the film are also asked about Valentine’s Day. And just like in the film, there’s a definite vibe that they all hate doing this feature but they’re going to grin and bear it because doing lame interviews comes with the territory of a being a movie star.
Commentary By Director Garry Marshall – Marshall talks about each scene in the film as it plays out. Unlike most Blu-Ray commentaries, no new info is gained. For example, Marshall says the reason there are so many dogs in the film is because he likes dogs. Wow, that was so insightful.
The Garry Factor – The stars discuss how much they love working with Garry Marshall and some even do impressions of Garry. This feature just made me sad because Garry Marshall has made some truly outstanding movies in his time. I have no idea how he could have gone from Pretty Woman to Valentine’s Day. Even his lesser movies like The Princess Diaries are amazing compared to this latest film.
Jewel Stay Here Forever Music Video – I don’t remember this song being in the movie? It’s alright, I guess.
Blooper Reel – Sometimes blooper reels can be really funny but this one didn’t get a single laugh out of me.
Additional Scenes – This Blu-ray features the most deleted scenes I have ever witnessed on a disc. However, they are all highly pointless and I fully understand why they were cut out of the movie. There’s even one bizarre scene featuring Penny Marshall, Antonio Villaraigosa, Dwight Howard, and some cheerleaders.. I can’t even begin to explain that one.
If you want to see a similar story but one that is done much better, check out Love Actually. It’s available on Blu-ray now. The Blu-ray features a decent video and audio transfers that are not bad, but they definitely could have been better. If you enjoy love film and the genre is for you I would probably suggest you to skip Valentine’s Day, but if you are curious about it I would rather suggest to rent it first.
The screen captures are only a small representation of what the Blu-ray looks like and are not representative of Blu-ray’s true quality.