I Hate Valentine's Day

2009-09-18 11:38

What it's about:

Nia Vardalos stars as a jovial florist called Genevieve, who attributes her annoyingly consistent glee to her ability to avoid intimate relationships. The secret to happiness, she reckons, is to have five dates with a prospective boyfriend, then ditch the guy without a backward glance. Her formula works perfectly until former lawyer Greg Gatlin (John Corbett) opens a tapas bar in town and enters her life.

What we thought:

Nia Vardalos stars in, wrote and directed I Hate Valentine's Day – a range of talents reserved for the truly brave and gifted. Vardalos, unfortunately, is not one of them; at least when it comes to directing herself. Her character's constant buoyancy, exemplified by the smile pasted on her face in scene after scene, becomes annoying (and increasingly scary) after the first hour.

She has been off the radar since her hit rom-com My Big Fat Greek Wedding, alongside John Corbett, where audiences adored her as the awkward, slightly chubby Toula Portokalos. Fortunately, Corbett and Vardalos still have the sweet chemistry working in their favour – although this time, it's mostly due to Corbett's ability to personify the laid-back restaurateur and allow Vardalos to steal the limelight. And steal the limelight she does – even if it means accidentally revealing her underwear to a full restaurant. Or belting out a cheesy song during a ten-minute, slapstick karaoke scene, following a string of stereotypically, off-tune amateurs.

The plot is filled with such gimmicks, so much so that by the time the film reaches its romantic climax, it's a relief to watch Corbett and Vardalos acting soppy again. They make an adorable couple because he understands her need for control and plays along, and watching her lose her grasp on her emotions is amusing.

The title suggests the film will undermine the commercialisation of romance with a sarcastic bite. But aside from Genevieve's dislike of the holiday, very little alludes to the depth of emotion that Valentine's Day should represent. In fact, the most insightful character is Tim, the delivery guy, who offers Genevieve sage advice on marriage and sharing a life with someone else.

Still if you're looking for a fluffy romcom with the predictable happy ending, I Hate Valentine's Day is a worthwhile option. Ultimately, it is quite charming.

Nia Vardalos is looking for love again. This time she plays a Manhattan florist who abides by a strict five-date-limit.

PRESHEN GOVENDER 2009/09/18 2:50 PM
  • Rating:
hated it no $ex scene
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