I Hate Valentine's Day Directed by: Nia Vardalos Cast: Nia Vardalos, John Corbett Running Time: 1 hr 35 mins Rating: PG-13 Release Date: July 3, 2009 (Limited)
Plot: A woman who runs a floral shop (Vardalos) hates love but enjoys Valentine's Day. Her impressions on the "pointlessness" of love begin to change when she meets Greg (Corbett).
Who’s It For? Those who can enjoy all-around cheap movies about relationships (this is certainly not by definition a romantic comedy).
Expectations: Considering the title, I was more than willing to share Vardalos' aggression towards a holiday that can be as brutal for some as it is spectacular for others. Even though Vardalos put My Life In Ruins last month, I was willing to give her a chance to make things right.
Actors: Nia Vardalos as Genevieve: Vardalos is as much of a trickster as her title. It turns out for ninety percent of the movie that she doesn't have any animosity towards the holiday. In fact, she loves the holiday more than love itself, since February 14th means good business from idiotic men who wait outside for her to open the morning of. The truth behind Genevieve is that she doesn't believe in love, a mindset that spurs out of daddy issues. But she embraces the playfulness of dating with a disgusting rule that limits each of her relationships to only five dates. Regardless of how pathetic Genevieve is, Vardalos always has her pearly white teeth on display, grinning enthusiastically through every misguided thought as if its the only reaction in her acting abilities. Maybe because comedy is absolutely not one of them. Score: 3
John Corbett as Greg Gatlin: He has a sort of Paul Rudd gleam in his eye, but is made into a brainless buffoon who doesn't understand one thing about relationships despite being A.) attractive and B.) in his thirties. Vardalos utilizes him to elaborate on how clueless men can be about the dating system. He's cheap as both an accessory and a finish line. Score: 4
Talking: The flirtatious dialogue is quick and unreal to the reality it is trying to portray. Plastic dialogue an awful habit of Hollywood in general, but has the worst placement in films that are trying to be legitimate to the courtship process. Score: 3
Sights: Last week's slow-motion running sequences in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen have been topped already. I Hate Valentine's Day has one of the worst slow-mo scenes in recent memory. It is a combination of unfathomable corniness and awful placement in the story. Vardalos' direction is other wise nothing to write home about, and that's apparently for her benefit. Score: 2
Sounds: The soundtrack is filled to the brim with cheesy nameless songs that are constantly heard in the background of scenes. Vardalos must have the most abominable iTunes library in all of Hollywood. Score: 3
Best Scene: There's a brief moment where Genevieve's friends talk about the responsibilities of men and women in dating. The conversation begins to crack on something interesting, but immediately abandons the topic altogether.
Ending: It is unclear whether a headache I suffered immediately afterwards was related to my experience of viewing I Hate Valentine's Day.
Questions: My head hurts.
Rewatchability: With maybe a couple of laughs, I Hate Valentine's Day has minute redeeming value of entertainment. Zoe Kazan, your eyes can only shine so bright in this pitch darkness.
There's little laughter and certainly no love for I Hate Valentine's Day, Vardalos' failed attempt to resurrect whatever career she had before the reprehensible My Life In Ruins. Genevieve's flamboyant floral store sidekicks (played by Stephen Guarino and Amir Arison) offer the relieving couple of chuckles that her deplorable and obnoxious character struggles to do herself. Vardalos smiles her way through the embodiment of her scary philosophy until the very end of Valentine's Day, which has an ending that is too late and too much.
This is not a romantic comedy, but a pathetic one - steered with little ability by the comedically challenged Vardalos. With I Hate Valentine's Day, there's little love to be found.
Final Score: 3/10