There will be many women being served ‘u owe me’ legal documents, whilst Valentine’s Day is still showing at movie theatres. The crime? For putting their boyfriends through the tasteless stodge pie that is V Day.
To be fair to the ladies, they were royally duped. It was marketed with all the ingredients of a worthy rom-com. For starters, director Garry Marshall scored his biggest hit with 1990’s modern classic Pretty Woman, a film that made prostitutes and the sleazy men that dish out their bread ’n’ butter look sexy and ever so enviable. If making love on the piano and having Richard Gere climb up your fire escape to plant a ‘happy ever after’ kiss on your lips wasn’t a dream before watching the film, Pretty Women proved beyond question that for decades after it would be a romantic fantasy staple. Not only that, you can gage how successful a film is by seeing how far it seeps into popular culture – who hasn’t sang along to Roy Orbison’s Oh, Pretty Woman whilst pretending to strut down Beverly Hills? (Just me?) Or repeated lines like, “You people work on commission, right” “Big mistake. Big. Huge. I have to go shopping now”. So with Marshall on board and a array of starry talent – Bradley Cooper, Jessica Alba, Ashton Kutcher, Jessica Biel and the rest of the young, hot Hollywood clan that make work within the seven figure bracket, who could help but think that this was going to be a delicious ball of romantic marzipan?
The multi-arc, Love Actually meets He’s Just Not That Into You formula is a well-established rom-com sub-genre and the prospect of another indulgent, two hour, heart warming throwaway fest is a seemingly promising idea. However, don’t be fooled. This film replaces plot with cardboard flooring, character with cardboard cut-outs, and theme with, what theme? There is yawn-inducing humour, and supposedly romantic moments that do not come close to rousing the emotional response rector scale. Thank God regardless of what sex you are there is an endless string of good looking talent. But even they can’t glue the mindlessly scatter shot material to resemble anything in the realm of emotional depth and character nuance.
So who should be held accountable here? Marshall? At the age of seventy-six and after the recent corny tripe that is Raising Helen and Georgia Rule, has the man lost his touch? Probably. Screenwriter Katherine Fugate? In her defence the last feature she penned was 2004’s sinking ship, The Prince & Me. So while money may have been spent on ink and trees when printing the damn 120-page flop-aster, the suits in the hills did not have to green light it. And it is here that we find the culprits, the producers, who thought that they could cover up a thread bare story with silky hair and pearly whites. Unfortunately, the joke is on us because V Day was the highest grossing February ever. Lets stop this craziness before New Years Eve the movie hits theatres worldwide.