The stars of My Big Fat Greek Wedding return for another sappy romantic comedy. And, if that’s not enough to send you away screaming, then let it be known right here and now that I Hate Valentine’s Day could very well go down in history as one of the worst romantic comedies of all time.
Not only did Nia Vardalos, the writer and lead actress of that Greek Wedding film, decide that she could once again take on the role of both author and actor, but she also chose to become a director as well. As a result, there was no one to whisper “Psst, act!” while this mess was being filmed, and so Nia just stands there, grinning throughout 95% of the film (even when her character is supposed to be upset), and looking akin to a starving, rabid hyena.
The story is just your typical romantic comedy crap. Greg (John Corbett) is a newbie to a Manhattan neighborhood where everyone knows each other. There, he meets a totalitarian florist named Genevieve (Vardalos), who acts as the personal love guru in the area, and who also has a strict "five dates only" rule when it comes to relationships. They date, penetrate, and miscalculate — which leads to both parties discovering that they can’t live without one another. Bah, blah, blah — as I said, it’s just your typical romantic comedy crap.
Honestly, I hold nothing against a writer wanting to create a more “classic” kind of comedy that is similar to the old-fashioned screwball comedies of yesteryear. I adore such films. But trying to recreate the wholesome, innocent, all-ages-admitted cinematic romp in our modern sex- and sin-laden society comes off as implausibly naïve. Now add to that a slew of paint-by-numbers characters and some hokey dialogue that would feel out of place even in an English-dubbed Japanese monster movie. To top it all off, the lead actors (Nia and Corbett, the latter of whom looks like he’s there to pick up a paycheck) are so aggressively benign in their roles that many of the supporting actors (including Jay O. Sanders and Mike Starr, who adds another film to his résumé as a guy who eats a sandwich onscreen) are left with the dirty work.