Valentine Grinches: steer clear

Valentine Grinches: steer clear

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By Karly Cox

Let's get the biggest criticism out of the way: as hard as it tries, Valentine's Day is no Love Actually. The latter was subtle in its sweetness, clever in the way it linked the 10 love stories and defiantly British. This poor man's imitation makes a ostentatious attempt to pluck at the heartstrings in a typically Hollywood fashion - and ends up falling well short of the mark.

That said, this is by no means disagreeable, and is a fitting movie for this triple-whammy season of lurve (Chinese and White Valentine Days are just around the corner).

With major stars such as Julia Roberts, Shirley MacLaine and Kathy Bates, there is no shortage of talent here. Younger actors, too, prove their worth, with strong performances by Jennifer Garner and name-of-the-moment Bradley Cooper, and a surprisingly ungoofy appearance by Ashton Kutcher.

The plot is often unnecessarily complicated, and frequently predictably cliched, but all the loose ends are tied up in the in end - along with a couple of genuine surprises, too. There are also several laugh-out-loud moments that are almost too clever for the film, and a great soundtrack featuring some cool versions of classic love songs.

Teens hoping for an indication that the two Taylors (Lautner and Swift) are future Oscar winners will be disappointed - Swift is particularly grating - but fellow teens Emma Roberts and Carter Jenkins are a breath of fresh air.

YP rating: 3/5

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