Modern Heat author Heidi Rice cozies up with a roster of star names and finds eye candy for every taste as she gets all touchy-feely with the box-office smash released globally last Friday. Just in time for, surprise, surprise, Valentine's Day.
All right, already, I know it's not V-Day anymore and some of you are probably sick to death of hearing about it. But as this star-studded romance-arama was released globally last Friday, there's still time to catch it in cinemas, wherever you happen to be, so I couldn't resist slipping it in to my Must-Watch Friday slot, just in case you missed it and are still in need of some good luvin'.
Now, I'm not going to go into the plot too much, because then we'd be here all day and most of the night too. But just as a little tastette...
First there's cute LA florist Ashton Kutcher who proposes to girlfriend Jessica Alba on V-Day morning. Then there's Ashton’s best friend schoolteacher Jennifer Garner who’s having a love affair with heart surgeon (geddit?) Patrick Dempsey (aka McDreamy from Grey’s Anatomy). And then there's Jenn’s ten-year-old pupil who has a crush on her. And the love-sick little boy’s fiesty granny Shirley Maclaine and granddad Hector Elizondo. And Jamie Foxx the cynical sports reporter and his savvy boss Kathy Bates. And Ashton’s business partner George Lopez who gets in a fender-bender with American football star Eric Dane (aka McSteamy from Grey’s Anatomy, are you keeping up here?). And temp Anne Hathaway who’s falling for mailroom boy Topher Grace. And her new boss, sassy agent Queen Latifah. And soldier Julia Roberts who’s on a 14-hour flight back to LA sitting next to nice, businessman Bradley Cooper (for more Bradley, keep an eye on the Male on Monday slot)… And so it goes on…. Exhausting or what?
And it's all very touchy-feely, all very romantic and all very cutely interconnected. And not remotely deep or meaningful or even all that believable. But then it’s not meant to be. If Valentine’s Day has a point, it’s that it’s unashamedly non-deep and non-meaningful entertainment. This is popcorn escapism folks with a glossy layer of LA glamour, a director credit from rom-com maestro Garry Marshall (Pretty Woman, anyone?) and a scattershot approach to star casting that ensures that pretty much everyone’s idea of eye candy will be catered for.
Valentine’s Day is a movie that does exactly what it says on the tin. It’s a Hollywood Hallmark card come to life. Actually it’s about 20 Hollywood Hallmark cards come to life. It’s sweet, uncomplicated, funny, studded with stars and, unlike Love Actually, only very occasionally cringe-worthy (sorry, but has anyone ever met a ten-year-old boy who wanted to spend all his pocket money on flowers for his teacher?) plus there’s Shirley Maclaine in red satin and Eric ‘McSteamy’ Dane in faded denim showing off a very nice set of bronzed pecs.
In other words, it's the perfect chick-flick. So actually it's great news that Valentine's Day has been and gone, because now you don't have to strongarm your other half into going to see it with you and watch their eyes roll back in their heads, you can enjoy it on a girls' night out instead - with some mates that might actually appreciate it (and Eric Dane's pecs).
And as for the British wag who dubbed it ‘Love Actually without the irony’ - all I can say is, where the heck was the irony in Love Actually? Because let’s not forget, this was the movie that had Hugh Grant's Prime Minister falling in love with a cockney tea girl!
Personally, I thought Valentine's Day was better than Love Actually, but maybe that's just me!
Warm and fuzzy rating: A very respectable 8 out of 10!
Heidi's latest Harlequin Presents Public Affair, Secretly Expecting - featuring bad boy Irish movie star Mac Brody, London shopgirl Juno Delamare and some very hot LA nights - hits the shelves in the US in March just in time for Oscar season. While her next Modern Heat novel Unfinished Business with the Duke will be out in the UK at the end of May.
Talk to her on her blog or through her website. She loves to hear from readers - and other hopeless romantics.