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Garry Marshall
Jessica Alba, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Garner, Kathy Bates, Jessica Biel, Eric Dane, Patrick Dempsey, Hector Elizondo, Jamie Foxx, Taylor Lautner, Julia Roberts, Shirley MacLaine, Anne Hathaway, Ashton Kutcher, Queen Latifah, Taylor Swift
Writing Credits:
Katherine Fugate (and story), Abby Kohn (story), Marc Silverstein (story)

A Love Story. More or Less.

The starriest cast you may ever see sparkles in a hilarious and heartwarming romcom from the director of Pretty Woman and The Princess Diaries. Stories crisscross, collide and boomerang in this look at a day in the life of love. There's a proposal. Flowers that didn't get sent. A big fat secret that's finally told. The "I'll show up and surprise him" that ended up surprising her. Fights, kisses, wrong turns, right moves and more. Whether new to or through with love, you'll fall in love with this 19-star, funny-side-up celebration of romance.

Box Office:
Opening Weekend
$16.665 million on 3665 screens.
Domestic Gross
$110.476 million.

Rated PG-13

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 125 min.
Price: $35.98
Release Date: 5/18/2010

• Audio Commentary with Director Garry Marshall
• 14 Deleted Scenes with Director Introductions
• “The Stars Confess Their Valentine’s Day Stories” Featurette
• “The Garry Factor” Featurette
• Music Video
• Blooper Reel
Sex and the City 2 Sneak Peek
• Digital Copy/Standard DVD


Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


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Valentine's Day [Blu-Ray] (2010)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (May 17, 2010)

Some movies will rake in the bucks no matter when they hit the screens, but some depend much more heavily on specific release dates. Into the latter category, we must lump 2010’s Valentine’s Day, a romantic comedy that debut on February 12. That bit of logical marketing paid off, as the film became a decent sized hit.

When I last reviewed a romantic comedy with an enormous ensemble cast – 2009’s He’s Just Not That Into You - I abandoned my normal self-written plot synopsis; attempts to summarize so many storylines seemed futile. With even more characters/threads, Day becomes even more daunting, so screw it! Here’s the vague summary from the disc’s case:

“Stories crisscross, collide and boomerang in this look at a day in the life of love. There’s a proposal. Flowers that didn’t get sent. A big fat secret that’s finally told. The ‘I’ll show up and surprise him’ that ended up surprising her. Fights, kisses, wrong turns, right moves and more.”

Wow – that’s pretty general, isn’t it? I’ll add this: set in Los Angeles, we flit from various characters – from little kids to elderly folks – and see how Valentine’s Day impacts them. Many attempts at romance, laughs and drama ensue.

“Attempts” being a great term, as Day rarely achieves those goals. This doesn’t make it an unpleasant experience, but it remains surprisingly nondescript, especially given the talent behind it. After many decades in Hollywood, director Harry Marshall owns a killer Rolodex, and he must’ve called in a ton of favors for Day. The cast boasts no fewer than four Oscar winners (Jamie Foxx, Kathy Bates, Shirley MacLaine and Julia Roberts) along with “name” actors such as Ashton Kutcher, Jessica Alba, Bradley Cooper, Jessica Biel, Patrick Dempsey, Topher Grace, Jennifer Garner, Queen Latifah, George Lopez and Anne Hathaway. Add to that two teen Taylors (Swift and Lautner) and this is a big old cross-generational star-studded group.

With so much talent, how come the end result seems so blah? I suspect Marshall’s indifferent direction causes some of the problems. He handles the movie’s severe logistical challenges acceptably well, as he keeps events moving at a decent pace.

However, Marshall can’t make the results anything better than serviceable. While the shifts among characters flow in a moderately satisfying manner, they never zing. A movie like this really needs to take on a sense of style and life to make it work, but that doesn’t occur. Instead, the film just plods along for its two hours without the requisite panache or charm.

Perhaps if the script offered better character development or greater wittiness, I might not mind the leaden pacing. Laughs are few and far between; the closest we come to cleverness occurs when Taylor “Check Out My Pecs” Lautner says that he doesn’t like to take off his shirt in public. Oh, and we also see signs for “Unger” and “Madison” at the airport, nods to Marshall’s Odd Couple days.

The characters are so sketchy that they’re almost totally forgettable. Granted, it’s next to inevitable that a movie with almost 20 “main roles” will lack anything remotely approaching three-dimensional personalities. Nonetheless, I think Day could’ve better explored the various parts, and it definitely could’ve kept them fresher in our minds. Some of them vanish for so long that when they reappear, we barely remember their threads.

Or care, for that matter. The film attempts the whole Crash thing, as disparate characters cross paths, but it does so with little cleverness; it’s more coincidence than smartness. Day casts such a broad net that it fails to catch much of anything.

And it goes on for an awfully long time. My gut says that romantic comedies need to run about 100 minutes, and they shouldn’t pass the two-hour mark. This was also true for the aforementioned He’s Just Not That Into You, a movie so similar that I probably should’ve just reused that review. However, that one managed to move at a brisker pace; even though it ran a few minutes longer than Day, Into You came across as a bit more enjoyable.

Though not radically so, as neither it nor Valentine’s Day prove to be memorable romantic comedies. Both bite off more characters than they can chew, and neither does much to distinguish itself with an audience. Beyond the presence of many stars in the cast, Day is entirely lackluster.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B/ Audio C/ Bonus B-

Valentine’s Day appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. The movie offered a good but not great transfer.

Sharpness was usually strong. A few shots appeared a little on the soft side, but those instances remained rare. Instead, the majority of the flick looked accurate and well-defined. No issues with jagged edges or moiré effects occurred, and edge enhancement remained absent. Source flaws were also a non-factor; other than some light, natural grain, the movie was clean and fresh.

Day went with a pretty natural palette. At times it favored the expected pink/red hues, but those never became a dominant theme. The colors remained full and well-defined. Blacks were reasonably dark and tight, but shadows tended to be a bit dull. Low-light shots veered toward the slightly dense side and lacked great definition. Neither that side of things nor the mild softness created substantial concerns, but they knocked my grade down to a “B”.

Expect a perfectly ordinary DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack from Valentine’s Day. While I didn’t anticipate a lively soundscape, I thought we’d get something more dynamic than this exceptionally low-key affair. The soundfield lacked much presence. The film offered some light environmental information and decent stereo music but not much more. I guess the surrounds fleshed out those elements, but they never made themselves known in any notable way.

Audio quality was fine. Speech was natural and crisp, without edginess or other issues. Music appeared decent, though I thought the score and songs didn’t boast great range; the track’s subtlety meant that even some loud rap tunes lacked punch. Effects remained insubstantial but were fine given their unambitious nature. Because I didn’t expect much from the track, I can’t say it disappointed, but it didn’t do much for me.

The package comes with a reasonable roster of extras. We open with an audio commentary from director Garry Marshall. He offers a running, screen-specific look at cast and performances, LA locations, story and character issues, music, and various bits of production minutiae.

Marshall’s prior commentaries tended to be very good to excellent; his track for Pretty Woman remains an informative delight. This created high expectations for his Valentine’s Day chat – expectations that the track itself fails to fulfill, especially during the film’s first act. During the movie’s initial segment, Marshall usually does little more than identify the participants. Given the enormous cast, that seems understandable, but it’s also pretty dull.

However, as the movie progresses, Marshall starts to open up his focus and make things more interesting. He also displays more of his trademark humor, so the combination of decent facts and funniness allows the commentary to prosper. Marshall never approaches the heights of his earlier tracks, but at least he rebounds well after a dull beginning.

14 Deleted Scenes run a total of 22 minutes, 28 seconds. (That includes optional director’s introductions.) These tend to fall into two categories: additional character exposition and more TV interviews. In the latter domain, the most notable come from cameos by Marshall’s more famous sister Penny and NBA players Dwight Howard and Chris Andersen. Despite that minor fun factor, these bits are pretty forgettable, and they would’ve slowed down the film since they have nothing to do with the 825 “main characters”.

As for the expository clips, they don’t add anything either. The most significant shows an expansion of Anne Hathaway’s character; it does make the role a bit bigger, but it doesn’t really do much for me. Day is already too long, so the inclusion of these segments almost certainly would’ve made the flick even more tedious.

Marshall’s intros prove to be useful. He lets us know some basics about the scenes and tells us why he gave them the boot. He’s honest and informative.

Two featurettes follow. The Stars Confess Their Valentine’s Day Stories goes for six minutes, 27 seconds and includes remarks from Marshall and actors Anne Hathaway, Jessica Biel, Jessica Alba, Eric Dane, Topher Grace, Bradley Cooper, Taylor Lautner, Julia Roberts, Patrick Dempsey, Taylor Swift, Jennifer Garner, Ashton Kutcher, George Lopez, Hector Elizondo, Queen Latifah, and Jamie Foxx. This is an insubstantial little puff piece, but it moves fast and is enjoyable enough.

The Garry Factor fills five minutes, three seconds and provides remarks from Marshall, Garner, Roberts, Latifah, Alba, Dempsey, Grace, Biel, Hathaway, Foxx, Lopez, Elizondo, Lautner, Kutcher, Swift, Cooper and actors Carter Jenkins, Shirley MacLaine, and Bryce Robinson. All the actors relate their adoration for Marshall. Like “Confess”, it contains zero substance, but it’s breezy and goes by without pain.

Next comes a Music Video for Jewel’s “Stay Here Forever”. Jewel lip-synchs her fairly tepid little country-esque tune in a flower shop; we also see movie snippets. Both the song and the video are inoffensive but forgettable.

We also find a Blooper Reel. It goes for five minutes, 47 seconds as I shows the standard roster of goofs and giggles. It’s forgettable, though I do want to mention that the movie’s end credits include different – and superior – bloopers. That collection deserves a look if for no reason other than to see Julia Roberts’ nod toward her past; the one line is funnier than anything in the actual movie.

The disc opens with a trailer for Sex and the City 2. The package also two-minute, 49-second Sneak Peek for the flick that mixes movie clips with comments from cast and crew. No trailer for Valentine’s Day shows up here.

A second disc offers two elements. For one, it provides a standard DVD version of the film. Note that this doesn’t simply duplicate the DVD you can buy on its own; it’s a more barebones affair that lacks the standard disc’s foreign language options. It allows fans without Blu-ray capabilities a way to watch the movie until they do take the Blu plunge.

The second platter also includes a digital copy of Valentine’s Day. This allows you to slap the flick on a computer or portable gizmo. Whoop-di-do!

With scads of stars, Valentine’s Day boasted great potential to be out of the ordinary. Instead, it’s about as in the ordinary as I can imagine, a film with tons of characters but nothing particularly clever, memorable or entertaining. The Blu-ray provides generally good picture, mediocre audio and a decent set of supplements. While not awful, Day is perfectly ordinary; given its huge number of famous participants, “perfectly ordinary” isn’t good enough.

Viewer Film Ratings: 1 Stars Number of Votes: 3
0 3:
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