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Sunday, May 6, 2012

Valentine's Day 2.0

I refer to Valentine's Day, the so-called holiday not the movie, as VD. As I entered that into my phone as a yearly reminder, as I do for all holidays, I realized: venereal disease. Which made it all the more fitting to save in my phone. You may be thinking that I don't like Valentine's Day, and that is not true. It may be denial, but I don't want to be one of those ladies who protests against love. Well, I might not have anyone special when that day comes around. Ever. But that doesn't prevent me from enjoying it by watching Valentine's Day, a great ensemble comedy that is, obviously, romantic. As all ensemble comedies goes, they have many, often interlinked, storylines, involving a variety of relationships between a variety of characters. So, expect me to use the words "storyline" and "relationship" often.

There is only one actor who really twists my panties, in that he really irritates me throughout the film. The only one who received recognition for his irksome personality, and that man is Ashton Kutcher. Overall, I've begun to dislike him as an actor, and even more so after he grew a Jesus beard. In the movie, his overly enthusiastic advocation of love, or whatever he believes love is, is not at all infectious (as he intended, I'm sure). In fact, as I said, it is annoying. His actions are completely foolish and thoughtless, as if he's so symbolically blinded by his overwhelming love. Once his girlfriend (played indifferently by Jessica Alba, who scored recognition as he did) accepts his proposal, half-heartedly mind you, he prances around like a little fool, thinking he's spreading the love on Valentine's Day, when really he's making everyone resentful and nauseous. The scene where he persuades the over-sized items guy to let him stop his friend from boarding a plane (oh, how nice) really supports my opinion. He wins the guy over by telling him that his friend is "like sunshine", which is such a quasi-dramatic speech that I'm sure Ashton Kutcher worked really hard on. Another one would have to be when he confronts his friend, urging her not board the plane or else she'll get her heart broken, he uses his own heartbreak story as an example of some sort. Tears start falling, oh you bet, and there is such pain in his voice that you'd want to cry yourself. That was going through Ashton Kutcher's head during the take, after which he said, "Yes, nailed it." (Oh, how I amuse myself.)

It only makes sense that his best friend and confidante is George Lopez. here, we have an example of the extremely annoying screen-stealer. His single source of humor is the fact that he is Hispanic, and is aware of the fact that many of his people are thought to be illegal aliens. Hardy har-har. Any time he appears on the screen, with his wise Spanish-man advice and grotesque face, I just roll my eyes and groan until he vanishes.

Another mind-numbing addition is Ashton Kutcher's peppy best-friend-turned-love-interest, Jennifer Garner, who, I might add, thinks she is breathtakingly gorgeous, which I must also add that she is not. She gives a performance so terrible that it is shocking that she wasn't recognized for it. (Oh, I guess being Ben Affleck's wife gives you immunity. How ironic.) Anyway, she plays yet another fool-in-love who is blind to reality as a result. Her downfall would be finding out her perfect doctor-boyfriend is married. Damn. She was warned by Ashton Kutcher, her ever-faithful friend, after he found out earlier and reacted rather dumbly. (That's the vibe I got from his mumbling shock at hearing his friend's boyfriend is married.) Yet she was too in love to believe him. That's her own fault then, isn't it? As for her performance, she has this particularly irritating habit of half-smiling awkwardly throughout the movie. It is very irritating, and that's an understatement. She is, by far, the most unbearable of the Ashton Kutcher trio, in my eyes. Perhaps because she's utterly unattractive while she thinks the opposite? Perhaps because she is considered to be a good actress, but in reality she isn't, as demonstrated here? There is no one to tell.

I find it both disturbing and doubtful that Eric Dane, an attractive man, and Bradley Cooper, an even more attractive man, are set up to be disputing homosexual partners. I'm sorry, but that is not right. The reason I included the fact that they are disputing in the movie is because that makes them appear to be deeper in love, henceforth all the more homosexual, intensifying this shocking impossibility. When I think of two male homosexuals (not that I often do...)--When the subject of two male homosexuals is brought up, I immediately picture two feminine, preferably short, middle-aged men. Not decrepit like Christopher Plummer, not as specifically well-known as Jim Carrey, and certainly not these fine men here. I think of Mitch and Cam from Modern Family, which is a positive image and definitely raises my tolerance for homosexuals. Is this topic a bit too taboo? Starting to appear so.

Before discovering the inconceivable truth, Bradley Cooper and Julia Roberts displayed a promising romance on-screen. They play two people sharing a row on an airplane, as they get along wonderfully, hence explaining my guess (and hope) that they would be romantically-involved. Oh, but the writers fooled me, that they did. The moment when Bradley Cooper gives his car up for Julia Roberts, so she could make it home to see her little boy before she has to return to battle. She's in the army. When she arrived to her little boy (just to clarify, it's her son, not some little boy whom she visits in a creepy way), it is truly heartfelt and even makes one want to cry, if they're prone to that. Also, after just watching this movie, I found myself to take a liking for Julia Roberts. I never really cared for her, thinking she was overrated, and while I still think that, I've begun to enjoy her in movies. Starting now.

A widespread issue that has been complained about in reviews and by word-of-mouth is the inclusion of two "horrible" performances by Taylor Swift and Taylor Lautner. Now, before I speak my opinion, let me note that I do not care for either individual in any possible way. Their status in the pop-culture stratosphere is both ridiculous and exhausting. Taylor Swift and her supposedly cute persona, as well as her frightening influence over the majority of females, is enough to make one (that's me) aggravated to a limit. As for Taylor Lautner, his reputation as the werewolf from Twilight is both defined and accentuated only by how often he is not wearing a shirt on-screen. Anyway, in the movie, they portray a high-school couple in love, and, may I say, they did a fine job. If it was intended, of course. Knowing the environment of high school first-hand (or remembering it), I can safely say that they nailed the manner in which teenagers act. Typical teenagers, anyway. Taylor Swift especially, as she bobs her head from side to side and brags in the usual "oh-my-gosh" fashion in which most girls do. In a way, she lampoons the ditsy, clueless girls of high school, very well at that. Unless she was just being herself, then it's just idiocy on her part. Perhaps what the audience perceived as bad acting was really a version of Method acting? I'm not sure how to put it, but she did a good job, if that's what she intended to act like. Otherwise, I'd have to agree with the multitude and deem it to be awful acting. Taylor Lautner, who I believe was dating his on-screen co-star at the time, accounting for the believability of their romance, was really not bad at all. Seriously, I saw no hints of bad acting in any role he played, including here, other than in the Twilight saga. (Scoff, saga.) And this is objectively-speaking, considering, again, I don't like them.

The storyline between Emma Roberts and her boyfriend as the other two teenagers in love preparing for their first time is absolutely adorable. And believable, as far as I'm concerned. Not to get too personal, but I, myself, am...inexperienced in the art of seduction. From what I'm aware of, however, and how I feel on the subject, I found this relationship to be incredibly real and sweet.

"The truth makes everything else seem like a lie."
I really like this quote. It supports my theory that revealing what's been done in the past is not always the right thing to do. this applies to the storyline between Shirley MacLaine and Hector Elizondo, who play the always-adorable elderly couple who've been together since World War II. Maybe later than that. What happened there was Shirley MacLaine confesses to having an affair with her husband's business partner many years ago. Ergo, it happened a very long time ago. Ergo, it doesn't matter. Which brings us to the quote, said by Hector Elizondo in reaction to being told of his wife's infidelity. Evidently, he agrees with my view on revealing long-kept secrets, that it really doesn't matter at all once you've concealed it for so long. In any case, the two reconcile rather romantically, as they dance in front of the silver screen. What makes this moment even more magical is that Shirley MacLaine graces that silver screen, as a younger version of herself. So, in a way, Shirley MacLaine portrays herself in the movie, if she had an affair with her husband's business partner also, of course.
This romance is contrasted by the one with Topher Grace and Anne Hathaway, who are just beginning their relationship. They display the equally-difficult hardships of learning something new about the other. In this case, it is Anne Hathaway's part-time job as a phone-sex operator. When Topher Grace finds out the truth, he nervously backs away from a potentially long-lasting relationship, perhaps as long as the one between the elderly couple. Of course, this truth had to be revealed at some point, unlike Shirley MacLaine's secret, but the two situations are parallel nonetheless. I will not let a technicality interfere with my insight.

Other elements in the movie include the woman who does hate Valentine's Day (unlike me) played by Jessica Biel, in what I would have to call a pretty good performance; the guy who dislikes Valentine's Day played by Jamie Foxx, though I think he just said that to get together with Jessica Biel, for he is indeed a player as he said; the little boy in love, which is that sweet, innocent love one smiles at while thinking they don't know what they're in for; and, of course, the unecessary part of the movie who is included solely for additional laughs, played by an aggressive and funny Quen Latifah, who clearly did the job she was hired for. Kathy Bates was here too, but she's everywhere, even when she's not needed.

Valentine's Day was not particularly acclaimed by the critics. Entertainment Weekly gave it a solid F-rating, which is pretty harsh considering the film was not bad at all. This is coming from someone who loves ensemble films, when all these famous actors are gathered into one huge comedy and you think to yourself, "Boy, they must be having fun." And they are! I'm sure they are all friends, one with the other, and the paycheck is most likely substantial. Plus being on set with everyone you know must be a hoot. The movie itself is great, really great, really really great, so I must say that it is fine to enjoy them. That's right, I'm talking to you, who thinks that if you like this movie you will be intellectually shunned. How often are these ensemble films made? And how many directors are able to gather such a posse? So, whenever a movie like this comes along, and it is surely decent, I take the opportunity to add it to my repertoire of movie to watch over and over again.

Note: You may be wondering about the title. I didn't mention it in the beginning because I usually do that and I'm annoyed by that habit. So, if you are indeed curious, look no further: Valentine's Day

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