| IN-FLIGHT MOVIE: Julia Roberts (right) and Bradley Cooper. |
IMAGE: Ron Batzdorff
“It’s Valentine’s Day: Don’t think, just do.” Ashton Kutcher’s fearless declaration early in Garry Marshall’s release date-targeted film is an echo of what most of the Valentine’s Day pre-production meetings must have sounded like. No thought whatsoever was procured in preparation for this all-star, everyone’s-connected romantic comedy that tries to copy the success of Love, Actually by sliding American tabloid pinups in place of talented British actors. There is absolutely no chemistry between any two stars: Topher Grace and Ashton Kutcher could have easily switched pairings, as could have Anne Hathaway, Jennifer Garner or Jessica Biel. The only thing worse that watching Jessica Alba read lines is watching Jessica Alba read lines with a bad dye job.
The obvious pitfall of this genre is that there are far too many luminaries to spend time building any one relationship, so Valentine’s Day tries its hand at reflexivity by casting Taylor Lautner and Taylor Swift as a ditzy high-school couple, to the joy of millions of teenage girls. Lautner, most famous for his Twilight gym makeover, at one point quips, “I’m uncomfortable taking off my shirt.” Oh, hilarious. The only reprieve comes from Julia Roberts and Bradley Cooper, who bring a measure of subtlety on a 14-hour flight to L.A. Then it’s back to Taylor Lautner. Or Queen Latifah being “fabulous.” Or Shirley MacLaine running around in an orange skydancer costume. Valentine’s Day won’t make you feel bad for not having anyone on this most commercial of all holidays, because it reminds you that any idiot can dress up the word “love” with as much money and celebrity as possible without it being worth a damn thing. PG-13.
SEE IT: Opens Friday at Cedar Hills, Eastport, Cinema 99, Cinetopia, City Center, Cornelius, Division, Evergreen, Hilltop, Lloyd Center, Movies on TV, Oak Grove, Pioneer Place, Sandy, Sherwood, St. Johns Twin Cinema-Pub, Tigard and Wilsonville.