First Hit: A funny, cute and lighthearted romp with a huge cast ensuring its popularity.
Did I say huge cast? Here is a partial listing: Jennifer Garner, Ashton Kutcher, Jessica Biel, Taylor Swift, Julia Roberts, Patrick Dempsey, Shirley MacLaine, Bradley Cooper, Jamie Foxx, Jessica Alba, Hector Elizondo, and Anne Hathaway and that’s not everyone who is in this film.
This cast alone would drive people to the box office but it is also a Garry Marshall film and it opened on Valentine’s Day weekend so it was almost guaranteed to be successful. I saw this with my partner on Valentine's Day and there were lots of couples in the theater.
From an entertainment point of view, this film was also a success. The story lines are varied; from old time lovers still deepening and rekindling their love to young lovers discovering their next steps. There is a counterpoint of people who struggle and don’t particularly like Valentine’s Day.
The film begins with a man asking a woman to marry him, she says "yes" then has a change of heart. It segues into a boy living with his grandparents and having a crush on his teacher and he wants to give her a valentine but the teacher is deeply involved with a man whom she discovers is married.
There is the story of a mother returning from her overseas Army assignment to be with her love for just 18 hours before she has to return to her assignment. Then there is a football player announcing he is gay which will allow him to be public with his relationship.
These and many more stories were packed into this film. It would be hard to not relate to at least one of them in some way.
I won’t comment on all the performances but bring up a couple which I thought were worth noting. I enjoyed Biel being more physical in her comedy than in previous films. She was very enjoyable to watch. I enjoyed both Garner and Hathaway in their respective roles as teacher and part time phone sex operator. Marshall doesn’t take a lot of risks in this film (which is true to form for him) but he doesn't need to, the story and actors bring it all together under his guiding hand.
Overall: This was a well marketed film that delivered enough laughs and story line to keep me interested for the entire film.