Thanks for nothing, Love Actually. You came along, with your portmanteau of cheesy rom-coms, and everyone admitted five years later that they secretly love your array of awkward turtlenecks and watch it every Christmas. Sure, that’s fine, but Love Actually, you knew that Hollywood wouldn’t leave it be. You KNEW that they’d tried to attach a load of A- through C-listers to a sentimental holiday and it’d be enough to make Emma Thompson go and secretly cry upstairs again.
It’s clear that Valentine’s Day is a total lie as soon as the radio DJ proclaims it to be “your favourite day of the year.” Even the in film universe doesn’t agree with that (though don’t get me started on how annoying the Valentines hating character is. It is the easiest holiday to ignore ever! Get over yourself!) Ahh, the unbelievable world of Valentine’s Day. Ashton Kutcher proposes to Jessica Alba, even though their big “frolic room” canvas over their bed is the least marriage-material piece of interior design there is. Patrick Dempsey juggles in like three different scenes so everyone knows he is cheating, because he’s juggling, you see? He’s juggling his wife and Jennifer Garner, and he’s physically juggling, it’s like the metaphor is there, do you get it, juggling? Yeah? Juggling, with the- he juggles? If that was too subtle, Anne Hathaway’s phone sex worker ringtone is just a porn soundtrack. It’s as nuanced as a year seven poem.
ALSO, can we just take a break and discuss the ridiculousness that is this scene: Emma Roberts goes up to her teacher (Kristen Schaal), post- registration on the track field (where we all had homeroom), and tells her about her plans to lose her virginity that lunchtime.
Do you guys remember informing a teacher about your first time? No? GOOD. YOU’RE A REGULAR PERSON. Did a freaking pastoral care council write this scene?? I don’t care if your teacher is Kristen Schaal in real life, she doesn’t want to hear about it! This is what your more worldly wise friends and Laci Green videos are for! The one realistic thing about the school in this film is the relationship between Taylor Swift and Taylor Lautner. This is because 1. they were legit dating at the time, and 2. they are the personification of the high school relationship with 100% slush and 0% longevity. Ah, true love.
That’s something, actually. There is like zero love in this film. If Garry Marshall wanted to create the anti-Love Actually, he has definitely succeeded. If you’re after that film which zooms through so many plots you don’t care about who Julia Roberts in army gear is visiting, then this is for you. It’s a one stop shop for a script riddled with lines like “now THAT’s heart surgery” and “not in Franklin’s house!” which make no better comic impact within context, and weird racial stereotypes which teach us that Indian twelve year olds all work at their parents’ curry house, and Asian florists don’t use verbs in sentences. There’s one bit I like, and that’s when somebody passes their baby (or bouquet of flowers, I wasn’t really paying attention after forty minutes) to some conveniently placed nuns. Where’s that massive convent in LA?
Snog, Marry, Avoid: Avoid, like you would an awkward ex who is also somehow a giant spider.