New Line’s latest assembly-line romantic ensemble creation is every bit as bad as you’d expect it to be — maybe worse. The 16 percent it’s currently rating over on Rotten Tomatoes is more generous than a bashful virgin leaving a tip at Hooters. It’s a lot of very pretty faces haphazardly glued together with aged Elmers, lit with a sun lamp, and scored by a drunk who couldn’t keep his finger off the SWELL button. It’s as commercially crass as Valentine’s Day itself; it’s cheap; ineffectively manipulative; and emptier than a single man’s nightstand Kleenex box the morning after binging on microwave pizza and pay-per-porn. It’s slathered in processed American cheese, melted into a wet gooey marshmallow-y mess, and then strained, leaving only a wine glass of grease. It’s emptier than Taylor Swift’s head, who — along with Taylor Lautner — turn in what has to be the worst on-screen performances since Tom Brady hosted “Saturday Night Live.” Taylor Swift looked like a blind special-ed kid hopped up on pixie stix trying to shake off flies, while Lautner looked like a brain-dead Bambi dumb enough to get caught in a fog light.
There’s very little good about Valentine’s Day and it’s an almost impossible to provide plot details without giving everything away. It’s 659 tiny romantic vignettes that intersect like a mid-air collision and hardly anyone comes out of it with their dignity intact. It’s lousy, predictable, moronic, gushy, lame, and phony, and the only difference between Valentine’s Day and a mugging is that at least a mugger might be sweet enough to knock you unconscious while he takes your money.
But you knew that. Anyone with half a brain stem knows that. The day that Valentine’s Day was announced, a few weeks after He’s Just Not That Into You was released, you knew exactly what you were going to get: An awful, barely coherent series of shorts stapled to a candy heart and crammed down your throat.
But it’s Valentine’s Day weekend. And, as my gift to you, I won’t judge you if you decide to see Valentine’s Day. I know that anyone who reads this site is smart enough to realize — long before I told you — that this movie is devoid of value, an empty piece of commerce tied to an empty holiday. But I also understand that the people who decide to see it anyway probably aren’t looking for anything more than that — a dozen attractive and familiar faces and two hours of Hallmark sentiments.
Most of us are cynical assholes who’d rather eat an ogre’s toenails and broken glass than see Valentine’s Day. But some people want cheap, fake entertainment for their cheap, fake holiday. It’s a grand American tradition. And that’s exactly what Valentine’s Day gives you. You want 12 meaningless happy endings and a two-hour time killer during a weekend you just as soon forget about? You want to wallow in the contrived relationship problems of gorgeous people pretending to be florists, school teachers, football players, newscasters, agents, receptionists, and high-school students? Well, get on with your bad self.
Valentine’s Day isn’t going to cause any permanent damage — in fact, it’s better than Leap Year and When in Rome, which admittedly is like being the fat one at an anorexic camp. Did you like Love, Actually? As insipid as it was, Valentine’s Day is even moreso, but there are a lot fewer British accents and a lot more Ashton Kutcher, and thus requires the activity of only one brain cell instead of two. Why spare the extra brainpower?
The majority of the people who see Valentine’s Day actually won’t be couples — like, He’s Just Not That Into You, it’ll be 80 percent women, most of whom know better than to expect quality entertainment. But they’re going to laugh at how bad it is, coo at all the shirtless celebrities, fawn over the shoes, and then mock it over drinks afterward. It’s People magazine, projected onto the screen. So gorge on it, ladies — there’s no reason to feel guilty about it in the morning. You deserve your Miller High Life moment, especially after suffering through a Super Bowl that insisted you were an emasculating shrew. Plus, the very short Bradley Cooper/Julia Roberts plot line, while in no way redeeming, is kind of cute.
And the best thing about Valentine’s Day? If your boyfriend or husband actually does take you to this movie (whether you want to see it or not), he really does love you. He’s gonna deserve the dirty drunk stuff tonight.
Dustin Rowles is the publisher of Pajiba. He is forced to run obnoxious ads in order to remain so. If you would like to point out a spelling, factual, or grammatical error, please have the courtesy to email him. Otherwise, comments are very welcome below.