Released just before Valentine's Day in 2010, this ensemble Romantic Comedy film was directed by Garry Marshall and boasts an All-Star Cast including Jessica Alba, Kathy Bates, Jessica Biel, Bradley Cooper, Patrick Dempsey, Héctor Elizondo, Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Garner, Topher Grace, Anne Hathaway, Ashton Kutcher, Queen Latifah, Taylor Lautner, Shirley MacLaine, Emma Roberts, Julia Roberts, Taylor Swift, and many, many more.
Basically, the film follows the intersecting events of various characters, all taking place on the titular day. There's Reed (Kutcher), the hopelessly romantic florist proposing to his girlfriend (Alba). There's Julia (Garner), head-over-heels for a handsome doctor (Dempsey). Jason's (Grace) just starting to fall for his new girlfriend, Liz (Hathaway). Meanwhile Edison (Bryce Robinson) has a crush on a girl at school. His grandparents, Edgar (Elizondo) and Estelle (MacLaine) are getting ready to renew their vows. Kara (Biel) has sworn off love, while Sean Jackson (Eric Dane) is facing the end of a relationship and possibly the end of his career.
Nobody's Valentine's Day quite goes as planned. The flowers don't always reach their intended target; some relationships end, while others blossom. The film also does a good job of weaving the various plots together, and while not all the stories overlap, they form an overall mosaic much the same as the earlier Love Actually.
The movie definitely veers into Chick Flick territory, but the all-star actors give credible performances to prevent it from becoming too saccharine, and the film's various allusions to its cast and its awareness of various Rom Com tropes make it highly enjoyable.
This film provides examples of:
- Actor Allusion:
- Dempsey plays a successful (and two-timing) surgeon.
- When Topher Grace questions the ringtone of his girlfriend, thinking it sounds techno, she says it's more retro, very '70s.
- Lautner's Willy: "I'm not really comfortable taking my shirt off in public." Possibly the funniest line in the movie for Twilight fans. (Or anti-fans, we're really not picky.)
- The limo driver asks Julia Roberts if she'd ever shopped on Rodeo Drive. The answer? "Big mistake. Huge."
- A flight attendant on the airplane Julia Roberts and Bradley Cooper are flying on announces that the weather in Los Angeles has cleared up after "three days of rain" (the title of a play that Cooper and Roberts had starred in together on Broadway).
- Advertised Extra:
- Taylor Swift and Taylor Lautner. A huge chunk of the advertising for this movie had "starring Taylor Swift and Taylor Lautner" and a good chunk of the time didn't even mention any of the other actors in the film (and their then Real Life romance didn't help matters). The two have maybe three scenes in the film and are pretty extraneous.
- Jessica Alba also has hardly any screen time. And she plays one of the very few characters who isn't with somebody at the end.
- The Beautiful Elite: Nearly everyone in the huge cast is absurdly pretty.
- Big Damn Kiss:
- Reed (Kutcher) and Julia (Garner) try for this. It ends up being really awkward. But then they talk about it and try again, and this time the music swells.
- Kara (Biel) and Kelvin (Foxx) gets one because they are kissing in front of a Green Screen, and Kelvin's coworkers change the background to a sunset.
- But Not Too Gay: Sean (Dane) and Holden (Cooper) never kiss, even though nearly all of the other couples, including the teenagers, do.
- The Cameo: Yes, that's Joe Mantegna who almost gets hit by Kutcher's van.
- Coming-Out Story: Sean Jackson doesn't want to hide who he is anymore and tells—on live television—that he is gay.
- Duet Bonding: Kara (Biel) and Kelvin (Jamie Foxx) get one to the tune of "I Will Survive."
- Dumb Blonde: Felicia, as played by Taylor Swift, is a blonde and dumb. Almost certainly a dig at the way some of the media view the actress.
- High-School Sweethearts: Felicia and Willy parody the concept:Male Anchor: There you have it, folks. Young love. Full of promise, full of hope, ignorant of reality.
- Just Friends: Reed and Julia are best friends and at the beginning of the movie both romantically involved with other people, but at the end, after confessing their feelings to each other, decide to try to turn this into a romantic relationship.
- Let's Wait a While:
- At the end, Grace and Alex decide to not start having sex because they feel they aren't ready.
- Felicia and Willy also say at each other that they don't want to have sex (yet).
- The Not-Love Interest: You would think Bradley Cooper and Julia Roberts' characters would get to get together. He's actually Sean Jackson's boyfriend.
- Precocious Crush: Edison (eight years old) has a crush on his teacher.
- Sequel: Has its own sequel, New Year's Eve. Although really more of a Spiritual Successor, as only Jessica Biel and Ashton Kutcher (out of the main cast) return from Valentine's Day - in different roles. As well as the less-successful Mother's Day, which turned out to be Garry Marshall's last film.
- Spiritual Successor: To Love Actually.
- Straight Gay: Football player Sean Jackson and his love interest, Bradley Cooper, culminating in their getting back together.
- Teacher/Student Romance: Edison for Julia. Unrequited, of course, and she redirects him toward Rani.
- Their First Time: Grace and Alex are planning to have sex with each other for the first time, but this is disrupted by her mother walking in at an unfortunate time. Later they decide to put off having sex for a while, so subverted.
- Trailers Always Lie: The trailer shows a shot of Kate and Holden looking each other in the eyes, and smiling, while a voice-over says "there's always a chance for romance". This strongly suggests that these two will be romantically interested in each other, or together, in the movie. But in the movie there is no romance between these two and he's already in love with someone else.
- Valentine's Day Vitriol: Kara organizes an "I hate Valentine's Day" party, where she meets a sports reporter, Kelvin, who has similar sentiments towards the titular holiday.