Valentine’s Day (2010, USA)

Wow, I never thought of myself as a kind of person who would watch a movie titled “Valentine’s Day” on Valentine’s Day itself. (Not that I have any vague idea what “kind” of person would do this.) But that’s exactly what we did. The movie was everything that I expected. Happy, funny, romantic fluff. I was entertained, but the flick gave me plenty of time during its course to reflect on it.

After we were introduced to the first 4-5 couples I started to wonder whether they will be all straight. At the end there was a gay couple. I noticed that when one of them came out there wasn’t much audience reaction, but when his boyfriend stroke his head and shoulder there was a lot of noise in the movie theater. I couldn’t decipher whether it was outrage, surprise, approval, or laughter. Probably a mixture of all of the above. The creators of the movie wanted to find a balance between creating heteronormative blockbuster and reaching out for the GLBT audience. Their bravery went as far as to include one non-straight couple, but their relationship was uncovered only at the end. Also all the other couples were shown in various degrees of making out, but they barely touched itself. This is some progress, but not equal inclusion.

There were two other aspects that bothered me. This movie was definitely set in LA-LA land, amongst the rich people or higher middle class of Los Angeles. Yes, there was one supposedly poor couple, but even they looked quite well off, despite their words. And of course this movie was all about beautiful people. One of the reasons the many strands of the movie can be remembered, because most of them were played by famous actors and actresses, who the audience memorized through celebrity promoting channels already. Most of us could recognize most of the faces, because we are immersed in the culture that makes them celebrities. As we all read Julia Roberts had only six minutes screen time, but she was paid $500,000 for each of those minutes. (BTW: I called quite early one what will be the solution to her secret. It wasn’t that hard.)

Some of the things I mentioned bothered me. But what really made the movie annoying was the flood of continuity errors. It took away from the guilty pleasure the movie provided by allowing me to tune out.

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