Critical Sass: No Love For "Valentine's Day"

by BILLY GRAY · February 11, 2010

    Cupid's arrow failed to strike the flattened asses of movie critics as they endured screenings of would-be rom-com blockbuster Valentine's Day. Only 13% of Rotten Tomatoes notices are positive, with several scathing reviews ripping the cinematic Hallmark card to shreds. How bad could the fallout be?

    Before we consider the potential repercussions of the critical bloodbath, let's review some of the better slams.

    There's Matt Pais of Metromix:

    "This is probably how it feels to be strangled with a candy necklace."

    And Marshall Fine over at Hollywood & Fine:

    "Light your money on fire and watch it burn. It will have an equivalent entertainment value and you'll save on gas, parking and snacks."

    And proving that brevity is the soul of shit reviews, you have the Boston Phoenix's Peter Keough ("I didn't like a single part of this movie") and Victoria Alexander at Films In Review ("Makes you hate the day").

    It's a bit early to imagine the implications of such a near-universal drubbing. RT's Tomatometer might grow a little redder (meaning fresher and more positive) tomorrow when the bulk of reviews pour in. And a bottom-of-the-barrel movie like this is all about the bottom line, not nabbing the Palme d' Or. So if millions of women drag their boyfriends to the movie over the weekend, it will have done its job well.

    Speaking of awards, luckily not a single performer listed on the movie's gargantuan roster of stars is in contention for an Oscar next month. If any were, we might be looking at a case of Norbit redux. Norbit was the Eddie Murphy vehicle released around Valentine's Day 2007 that was so putrid (RT rating 9%) it effectively torpedoed his Dreamgirls Supporting Actor hopes.

    So unless Valentine's Day is radioactive enough to contaminate future Oscar seasons, its blue-ribbon stars like Julia Roberts, Anne Hathaway, Shirley MacLaine and Jennifer Garner (who were all presumably blackmailed into appearing in the movie) will not be banished from the Kodak Theater.

    On the other hand, Valentine's Day's unromantic reception might jeopardize Taylor Swift's acting career (and continue the backlash against her) before it gets off the ground.

    Sneers OK!'s Phil Villarreal:

    "The movie isn't awful, and nor is it an award winner, unless you count Swift's frontrunner status to add a worst supporting actress Razzie to her shelf full of Grammys."

    As for that other Taylor (and ex of T. Swift), Lautner hasn't been singled out by many critics, but appearing in such a stinker (unless it makes buku bucks) might make some Hollywood execs renounce allegiance to Team Jacob. (The 18-year old Lautner is making upwards of $7.5 million per movie right now.)

    But maybe it won't be so bad. There is at least one fawning V-Day review to be found. Appropriately (and ominously?) enough, it comes from a secret admirer of a critic whose blurb Rotten Tomatoes does not even provide with a byline:

    "Just like a surprise box of chocolates, Valentine's Day is mostly delicious, even if it may leave some in the audience wanting more."