“Valentine’s Day” rather cliche

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Surely a packed theater would be an indication of a great movie, right? Not so.

Surely a packed theater would be an indication of a great movie, right? Not so. Audiences packed aisles on February 14 to see a juggernaut of stars (including Queen Latifah, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Alba, and Ashton Kutcher) take to the screen for a romantic comedy Hollywood showdown. It's not that the movie was bad, it's just that it wasn't fabulous. The movie centered around a whirlwind of couples including the just engaged florist Ashton Kutcher and his fiance Jessica Alba, Anne Hathaway as the poetry major with a dirty secret and her boyfriend and co-worker Topher Grace, clueless and infatuated high schoolers Taylor Lautner and Taylor Swift (who were a real-life couple according to the tabloids), oldies but goodies Hector Elizondo and Shirley Maclaine, and a slew of other messy relationships that the director tried a little too hard to intertwine. Not to say that the actors don't deliver. Queen Latifah and Kathy Bates shoot past expectations in their all-too-small roles. Jennifer Garner takes down a cheater deliciously. Topher Grace and Anne Hathaway click beautifully, but (spoiler alert!) Jamie Foxx and Jessica Biel offer up shabby performances. Also on the shabby performance list: the random child actor who failed to convince anyone he or what he was doing was cute, Jessica Alba, Ashton Kutcher, and Taylor Swift, who is so annoying you want to jump through the screen just to get her to stop talking. Swift's counterpart Lautner isn't bad, there's just nothing memorable about him. Parts of the plot are just silly and stupid. A girl's mother barely bats her eye when she finds her daughter's boyfriend in her room during school hours. A child runs away and the only person in the family who notices is his sister. A florist is hit from behind, completely forgives the guy who hits him, then leaves the spilled flowers and cards all over the street and goes on with his rounds. If this wasn't Hollywood, this guy would be fired. Other moments however are thoroughly satisfying and unforced. Take Jennifer Garner's revenge at a cheater, George Lopez's all too true small monologue about marrying your best friend, Topher Grace's pitch perfect insult, and Queen Latifah's last hurrah (you'll have to watch it to find out!). All make you smile, either because you totally wanted the other character to get a taste of his or her own medicine, or because of the truthfulness of it. Overall, it wasn't bad, but it was predictable, cliche, and sugary. If you need a nauseating amount of lovey-dovey puffiness or you just want to see what the hype is all about, go for it. But be warned: you will know how it ends by about a third in to the movie. Just saying.

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