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February 14, 2010
Review - " I Hate valentine's Day "  -  (on DVD) By Roland Hansen
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I Hate Valentine's Day
Directed by: Nia Vardalos
Starring: Nia Cardolas, John Corbett


Being 100% single I have no one with which to celebrate the annual
'day of love'. I was intrigued by the title of this picture so naturally I
sat down and watched this movie on Valentine's Day, surprise
surprise!

Nia Vardalos is quite the force to be reckoned with, although it took
her quite a while to come up with yet another cinematic romantic
comedy, and wearing triple hats of responsibility in writing, directing
and starring as the lead in "I Hate Valentine's Day", a title which I
thought was quite the misnomer for a film about a would be couple
who has to learn that the games people play have to be thrown out
of the window should they find that perfect chemistry between
themselves, but felt constraint by artificial, social rules that worse of
all, got made by and illogically adhered to themselves.

Vardalos stars as Genevieve, the chirpy proprietor of a flower
shop, who to her friends is the go-to person for advice on their
relationships, be it from the male or female perspective because
she's quite proud of the fact that she's got it all figured out. Her
secret to her happiness, is to stick to a five-date limit, no matter
how dashing, charming or otherwise awesome her suitor may be.
Genevieve's belief is that the fun stops after the fifth date, so her
rules -- which also outline her preferred type and sequence of
dates -- are designed to ensure maximum romance with a minimum
of downers like, say, rejection or boredom. You know, when you
first get attracted to and fall for someone, everything that started off will be perfect, where bad dinners taste delicious,
everything gets forgiven, and it's pure bliss any direction you turn to. It is exactly this first feeling of romance that Genevieve
feeds on, and develops her rules to prevent her heart from being broken by a bad relationship, or one that stagnates, with
exact mission objectives that each dating session should accomplish. Talk about being a control freak, in an extremely nice
way, and twisted as it may sound, it could be quite feasible, really.
But of course this is a definite cover up of deeper emotions of emptiness that she has to open her eyes and heart to, and this
comes in the form of neighbouring restaurant owner Greg (John Corbett), who is game enough to play 'The Dating Game' on
her terms, and to his surprise, actually works. Then you know the drill of the plot already, with both wanting a lot more than 5
dates, and find that both are willing if they'd only decide to swallow pride and ego. It's like Hitch dishing out advice, only to
find that eating his own cooking is something of a different story altogether.

I have to admit that both Vardalos and Corbett make quite the cute couple together sharing some excellent screen chemistry
that you'll find yourself rooting for them to stay together and get to their senses to continue beyond 5 dates. And that's also
because the film somehow lost its sparkle when things go awry, and the two find themselves lost at what to do next, which led
to the narrative being dragged out in its final third toward an expected, inevitable finale. Some may also find it hard to accept
how artificial Genevieve looks with her all-smiles all the time, though I felt that Vardalos may have made this deliberate
because it's a smile that's only skin deep to hide the hurt inside that she's feeling, in being afraid to forgive her estranged
father (when her mom already did), as well as the fear of commitment in case of a heartbreak.

There's an ensemble cast of caricatures here to fulfill their sole functions, which will be telling in the last scene. They never
upstage the two main leads and remain perfectly at the background serving as dialogue partners, or to provide plenty of
comic relief, with humour coming out of nowhere, sometimes hitting the mark, and others you'll scratch your head at when
nobody else laughs along with you. In any case don't let the title fool you into believing that this film is anti-Valentine's, as it is
as much a romantic comedy as the other jazzed up Hollywood ensemble film out this week to celebrate the day that is a bane
to all the boyfriends out there.

"I Hate Valentine's Day" is a sweet romantic comedy. Despite the fact that it follows the usual formulaic plot, it is still a
pleasant and joyful film to watch. The leading lady being a florist helps enhance the romantic mood, leaving viewers with
room to imagine how romantic she can be.
Nia Vardalos is great, as are the supporting
cast especially the two male florists. John
Corbett is as always very likable but still has
enough edge to remain interesting.  Overall,
"I Hate Valentine's Day" is a good film to kill
time. Of course it appeals more  to a female
audience, but it was good entertainment to
watch nonetheless. It never became sassy to
the point where it stopped being fun. There
weren't major laughs in this flick, but that didn't
slow the movie down in any way.