Valentine’s Day Is a Perfectly Silly, Romantic Masterpiece

By Ariana Bacle

Garry Marshall’s 2010 comedy knows not to take itself too seriously.


Name: Valentine’s Day

Year/Provenance: 2010, Garry Marshall

Rating: PG-13

Runtime: 2 hours 5 minutes

Who You’ll Recognize: Julia Roberts, Anne Hathaway, Jamie Foxx, Bradley Cooper, Jessica Biel, Jennifer Garner, Ashton Kutcher, Queen Latifah, Taylor Swift, Shirley MacLaine … the list goes on and on.

Why It Holds Up: Sure, detractors have dubbed Valentine’s Day the “worst movie ever made” and “a date movie from hell.” It isn’t especially groundbreaking or topical (or any other adjective associated with films you’d comfortably cite as your favorite on a date) but the star-studded rom-com knows you’re only here for a good time — and that’s fine by us.

Why You Should Watch: This movie has something (and someone) for everyone. Hathaway plays the coolest Cool Girl there ever was, leaving dinners to take calls as an “adult phone entertainer” and telling her boyfriend (Topher Grace) that Valentine’s Day is “really not a big deal.” Biel and Foxx sing a drunken duet at her annual anti-Valentine’s Day soirée. Cooper does some spectacular foot-acting in a scene with Roberts as they befriend each other on a 14-hour flight. Swift dances with abandon, as Taylor Swift is wont to do, and spends a fair amount of time making out with her former real-life beau Taylor Lautner. Shirley MacLaine makes a scene at a cemetery, which should be enough to get anyone to press “play” immediately.

Then there’s Ashton Kutcher and Jennifer Garner, charming as ever. Kutcher is Reed, a florist dopey in love with his stunning girlfriend (Jessica Alba) and best friends with Garner’s Julia, a sweet teacher who is ready to be in love but just can’t find a good guy. Despite competing with approximately 3,000 other actors for screen-time, these two anchor the movie with their earnest quest for romantic happiness. Their penchant for sap translates to a hopeful fantasy that will warm any romantic’s heart.

Best Line: A wise man once said, “It’s Valentine’s Day. You don’t think, you just do.” That wise man was Ashton Kutcher’s Reed talking about the holiday, but it’s also an apt description for the movie itself: It’s Valentine’s Day. You don’t think about it, you just watch it.

Why Now: It’s important to take a break every so often. Don’t think about whether the plot lines make sense or if a teenager (pre-American Horror Story Emma Roberts) would actually tell every adult she knows that she’s about to lose her virginity. Just sit on the couch with a glass of pink wine (or a black coffee if your Valentine’s Day style is more Jennifer-Garner-hitting-a-heart-shaped-piñata) and enjoy.

Watch With: Your funniest friends, because this is the kind of movie you’ll want to Mystery Science Theater 3000. Alternative: If you’re craving earnestness, watch alone to soak up all the candy-sweet moments without someone’s witty commentary distracting you.

Which HBO Character Would Watch: Resident romantics Shoshanna (Girls) and Charlotte (Sex and the City) would love Valentine’s Day. As would the eternally sweet Jared (Silicon Valley), who wouldn’t see any reason not to.