So, I'll come out and admit it: I saw Valentine's Day on Valentine's Day, because A) My boyfriend has a sick sense of humor, and B) I love bad romantic comedies. Not bad in a What's Your Number? sense, where there's hope that the movie will actually be good. I mean flat-out horrible, you-know-what-you're-getting-yourself-into rom-coms. Even movies like Friends With Benefits have too much potential, which is why I hold out for Sex and the City films and anything that stars Jennifer Lopez as a sad single gal. Garry Marshall's pandering, celebrity-stuffed Valentine's Day and New Year's Eve naturally make this pristine list.
While I was able to extract enjoyment from 2010's Valentine's Day ("She's the only other fifth grader I know that has Frank Zappa on her iPod!"), the only pleasure I took from New Year's Eve was when the theater accidentally turned the lights up during the climax of the movie for a few seconds, as if to say "We understand if you just wanna leave now," to the critics in the room. I really can't overstate the lifelessness of each storyline and how disappointed I was when there wasn't one single dumb twist in the whole thing. The gay athlete shocker in Valentine's Day was wholly lame (to put it kindly), but at least the writers were trying to insert something mildly interesting into the movie. This time around, I guess they had to make room for Lea Michele and Bon Jovi singing, or something? I have no effing idea.
While I'm inclined to say that if you like the people in the cast, you'll like this movie -- because they play the exact same annoying archetypes they always play (I'm shocked Sofia Vergara's character wasn't just named "Gloria," and that Rico Rodriguez didn't cameo) -- there's no excuse for what Garry Marshall did to my beloved Michelle Pfeiffer. Her character, Ingrid, is supposed to be -- as my press packet tells me -- a "meek, unassuming soul who has walked the same small circuit of her neighborhood and worked the same thankless job without complaint her entire adult life." She has so much trouble with social interaction and basic balancing skills that I double-checked after the movie to make sure that she wasn't supposed to have some mild-to-moderate form of autism. I honestly don't know how to write or describe this in a way that's not offensive, but at one point I even convinced myself that maybe Ingrid had Asperger's, which briefly warmed me up to her storyline in which a young man (Zac Efron) doesn't get turned off by this woman who has been misunderstood her whole life because of her disorder. So, there's that.
Also horrifying: if you're a supporter of the natural birth movement, the Seth Meyers/Jessica Biel "Induce labor so we can win $25,000!" plotline will probably infuriate you, as it showcases expecting parents being the people trying to rush childbirth, whereas the doctors are the ones who want to draw things out and never, ever induce labor. Which... yikes.
My advice is to wait a few months until this crap comes out on Netflix or finds its way to the bargain movie bin, and do yourself a favor and just watch the seasonally-appropriate Love Actually again instead. Unless you really really like Katherine Heigl.
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