By S. Jhoanna Robledo,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Mushy ensemble romcom sticks to formula; some sexy stuff.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Though the film portrays many kinds of love, there's a particular emphasis on romantic love, and those who lack it seem bereft. One portrayal of mature love, though needing exploration, is surprisingly complex.
Positive Role Models
There’s a liar in the mix, but for the most part, the characters here are decent people striving for love and connectedness.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Two teens discuss their plans to meet at lunch and have sex for the first time. The teenage boy is shown naked, with a guitar hiding his genitals. Couples kiss, sometimes in bed wearing little clothing; women’s legs peek out from beneath bedcovers. One character works as a phone-sex attendant, and viewers hear her raunchy conversations. A married man cheats on his wife, and his girlfriend has no clue that he’s "taken." A man is shown getting out of the shower and walking around in a towel.
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A sprinkling of “bitch,” “ass,” “moron,” and “hell,” and the occasional “s--t.” Several uses of "God" as an exclamation.
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Products & Purchases
It’s hard not to notice that many characters are toting BlackBerrys. ESPN is name-dropped.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Social drinking by adult characters.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Valentine's Day is an ensemble romantic comedy from director Garry Marshall -- which stars everyone from Julia Roberts, Jennifer Garner, and Anne Hathaway to teen faves Taylor Lautner and Taylor Swift -- that features relationships in various stages, from sweet childhood crushes and hormone-driven teen matchups to confusing adult connections and mature, enduring love. Characters kiss, teens talk about having sex, unmarried couples are seen in bed together, and a man cheats on his wife. There's a sense that you're incomplete without a partner, and that finding true love isn't easy – and yet everything has a fairy-tale feel in the end. Expect some swearing (including "s--t") and a few raunchy conversations.
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Based on 26 parent reviews
Shallow. Desperate. Annoying.
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What's the Story?
It's Valentine's Day in Los Angeles, and depending on your circumstances, it's either a day of delight or dread. Florist Reed (Ashton Kutcher) starts the day by proposing to his girlfriend (Jessica Alba), and everyone is amazed that she says yes. His best friend, Julia (Jennifer Garner), a teacher, wants to surprise her doctor boyfriend (Patrick Dempsey), who says he has to work. Meanwhile, a soldier (Julia Roberts) on a short break from Iraq is flying home to see her special someone; her seatmate (Bradley Cooper) tries to puzzle her out. And a phone-sex purveyor (Anne Hathaway) is falling in love with a colleague at her day job (Topher Grace), who knows nothing about her other gig, while a professional athlete (Eric Dane) wonders what's next now that his contract is up. For them -- and for many others -- it's make-or-break time.
Is It Any Good?
If anyone can make a great romantic comedy, director Garry Marshall -- whose credits include Pretty Woman and The Princess Diaries -- is it. In many ways, VALENTINE'S DAY has many of the signature Marshall touches: the sweetly satisfying moments between new lovers (certainly evident in the Hathaway-Grace pairing), the fluid storytelling, the sense of humor. But a few perfect moments do not a perfect movie make. It may end up being a crowd pleaser, but it's hyper-engineered to the hilt and ends up feeling packaged and crowded with marquee names and made-for-the-tabloids matchups. (Taylors Swift and Lautner, that's you.)
What ultimately makes love such a compelling topic is its mysterious, ineffable quality, and there's none of that jazz-improv magic here. Kutcher and Garner's storyline, though traditional in its unraveling, feels most satisfying. (Marshall makes the most of Kutcher's man-boy charms, and the actor steps up his game.) Hector Elizondo and Shirley MacLaine's comes second, but their plot doesn't really have room to unspool. Some picking and pruning would've made for a more stunning bouquet; it's all baby's breath and red roses -- the expected stuff -- as it stands.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about what Valentine's Day means, if anything. Is it really manufactured, and does it make people who aren't with someone on that day feel bad? Can it be a chance to focus on a relationship for a day, or does it just breed consumerism?
Does the film approach the topic of love any differently from other romantic comedies? Are all the pairings and their subsequent conclusions believable?
How does the film portray dating and romance? Ask your teens if this is what they think adult relationships are really like.
- In theaters: February 12, 2010
- On DVD or streaming: May 18, 2010
- Cast: Anne Hathaway, Jennifer Garner, Julia Roberts, Taylor Lautner
- Director: Garry Marshall
- Studio: New Line
- Genre: Romance
- Run time: 90 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: some sexual material and brief partial nudity
- Last updated: January 2, 2023
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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