In review: February Romances

Valentine’s Day
Directed by: Garry Marshall
Starring: Ashton Kutcher and all of Hollywood
Release date: Feb. 12, 2010

Despite the lure of a huge all-star cast, the involvement of producers from He’s Just Not That Into You and the director of Pretty Women, Valentine’s Day is medley of bad storylines. There are three principle reasons why.

Firstly, the writer Katherine Fugate (who also directed 2004’s Prince & Me) has resorted to all the predictable romantic narratives of movies past. Whatever attempt there is at originality and making the film and its characters cute becomes unrealistic and annoying.

Bad acting is the second reason, which seems to be a result of Fugate’s disappointing script. The Hollywood cast is incredible and all the actors do know how to act, but there are simply too many cringe-inducing moments.

While Jessica Biel, Jamie Foxx and Jessica Alba are especially unappealing, Anne Hathaway, Topher Grace and Jennifer Garner are somewhat charming.

The last reason is also the selling point of the film: multiple plotlines. With so many stories and so many actors to cater to, the actual narratives are cut too short.

There is not enough time to develop the characters’ personalities and to allow the audience to care about them and their troubles.

While Love Actually had charm and He’s Just Not That Into You had substance, this film just has a substandard script and the hope that a big cast will make up for it.

–Elise Cotter

Dear John
Directed by: Lasse Hallström
Starring: Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfried
Release date: Feb. 5, 2010

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Dear John is able to captivate the attention of all age groups. After sitting in a theatre with everyone from giddy middle school girls to seniors, I realized that this movie is more than just a spectacle for those Channing Tatum obsessed fans to my right.

From the woman who directed Chocolat, the movie itself was about two youngsters who fall in love over the span of two weeks. The main character, John Tyree, is a soldier on leave from the United States army.

Savannah, a student on spring break, encounters John at the beach after an incident with her bag.

Throughout the movie, Savannah’s devotion to those with autism becomes apparent, especially when an impulsive decision on her part has John extending his tour for several years.

After many struggles and the loss of people close to both John and Savannah, the two lovers find their paths crossing once again. Dear John has many surprising moments and it is a decent story.

However, the ending leaves much to desire, as comments from the audience strongly suggested.

–Deanna Sim