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Blu-ray Review: Valentine’s Day

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Valentine’s Day is an ensemble film directed by Garry Marshall which covers the lives of over a dozen Los Angeles residents and shows how some of their paths cross, are entwined, or intersect. Each of these lives will somehow be changed once the day is over.

There’s Reed (Ashton Kutcher), a florist who proposes to his girlfriend Morley (Jessica Alba), who accepts. However as the day progresses Morley starts to feel the pressure and makes a surprising choice. Julia (Jennifer Garner) is in love with her boyfriend Harrison (Patrick Dempsey) and although he tells Julia he’s divorced, he’s not; when he buys flowers for both his ladies where Reed works, Reed must decide whether to be the bearer of bad news to Julia.

Meanwhile things seem to be going great for Liz (Anne Hathaway) and Jason (Topher Grace) who have been dating for two weeks, but Liz moonlights as a phone sex operator to help pay off her large student loan and is keeping her other job a secret from Jason and goes to great lengths to do so.

There’s also the anti-Valentine’s Day crowd which includes Kara (Jessica Biel), a publicist who throws an “I Hate Valentine’s Day" dinner every year. Also part of this crowd is sports reporter Kelvin Moore (Jamie Foxx) who is the #2 sports reporter for Los Angeles, but as it’s a slow news day he’s given an assignment which he finds humiliating – to cover Valentine’s Day around the city. Luckily for Kelvin he learns that star football player Sean Jackson's (Eric Dane) career is in question. Kelvin then has to spend the day covering Sean and working with his publicist Kara. There’s also Kate (Julia Roberts), an Army Captain returning home on leave; on the 14-hour flight, she meets Holden (Bradley Cooper) and the two strike up a friendship.

Rounding out the ensemble are Queen Latifah, Taylor Lautner, Taylor Swift, Hector Elizondo, and Shirley MacLaine.

Not all characters' paths cross and some are admittedly there to further plots, but the movie works. Ensemble movies can be tough; there needs to be enough time given to any one story and in some cases certain characters get shorted.

That’s not the case here as each of the stories are given the right amount of screen time. My wife started keeping count of how many actors had been in the Princess Diaries films. Knowing a bit more about films and television than her, I first started pointing out the various actors who had previously worked with Garry Marshall (which includes Princess Diaries). Then I started pointing out who had worked together in the past, or are currently working together like Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Garner worked on Alias, while Patrick Dempsey and Eric Dane currently work together on Grey’s Anatomy. While some resolutions were predictable, there were several that made my wife and I both say “I didn’t see that coming!” and they were pleasant surprises.

Video: The film is presented in 1080p and is 1.78:1-framed. The movie looks good on Blu-ray — colors pop like the green in the military uniform that Julia Roberts character wears and the rainbow of colors in the various flowers seen throughout the film. The black levels are crisp and defined and never wash the actors out.

Audio: Valentine’s Day's DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack is very good; it never overpowers the dialogue, nor interferes with it. You can understand each actor’s lines, and can distinguish each of them.

Extras: The extras for Valentine’s Day include a commentary with director Garry Marshall. The commentary is comprehensive as Marshall tries to cover all aspects of the film including the talent, why he liked the script, shooting the film, adding certain elements so that the film would also appeal to men, and more.

“The Stars Confess Their Valentine's Day Stories” has various members of the cast and crew discussing how they feel about the holiday and their best and worst Valentine’s Day memories.

“The Garry Factor” has the cast talking very fondly of the director.

Rounding out the extras are a blooper reel and 14 deleted scenes which have the option to include director introductions.

Valentine’s Day is a fun romantic comedy that is at least worth a rental.

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