I Hate Valentine's Day
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this tepid romantic comedy reuniting the stars of My Big Fat Greek Wedding is actually quite tame in terms of age-appropriate content. There’s no swearing or violence, only a little bit of social drinking, and not much sexy stuff aside from some kissing and one scene showing a couple in bed (only shoulders and legs uncovered). But while the movie's friendships are portrayed as sweet and supportive, it perpetuates corny, superficial ideas about romance and relationships.
What's the story?
Genevieve (Nia Vardalos), a Brooklyn florist, believes in romance -- but not long-term relationships (perhaps thanks to a philandering father...). She thinks a perfect pairing runs just five dates, and she has the perfect formula for them: swap family histories on the second, go for an adventure on the third, and have "the best date ever” on the fifth. Meanwhile, Greg (John Corbett), the new restaurateur on her street, has just discovered that his girlfriend doesn’t consider him her only boyfriend. Charmed by Genevieve’s approach to coupling, he asks her out, determined to stick to her script. But, to paraphrase John Lennon, love is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans. ...
Is it any good?
Don't watch this movie if you're lactose intolerant -- it’s that full of cheese. Though it means well -- the premise, if unexciting, is at least interesting, and the supporting cast, particularly Rachel Dratch, is charming -- its whimsy is forced and its momentum nonexistent. Romantic comedies, even the most formulaic ones, succeed when they carry you aloft on a giggle and a ride -- even if you know how it’s going to end, it should at least get you there with the wind behind your back.
But I HATE VALENTINE’S DAY doesn’t. Vardalos and Corbett, who once exhibited great chemistry in the justly vaunted My Big Fat Greek Wedding, don’t work here. The banter is strained, the delivery anemic (especially Vardalos, who seems to have recently attended the smile-brightly-and-everything-will-be-fine school of acting). There’s nothing offensive enough here to inspire outright hate, but there’s nothing to love, either.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about how the movie portrays relationships. What impact does parents' relationship have on their kids? How important is romance in long-term relationships? Do you think the movie takes a realistic view of love?
Families can also discuss the movie's gender expectations and stereotypes. Are guys really the only ones who should do the wooing in heterosexual relationships? Do women need to be pursued?