Bil’s rating (out of 5): B.
USA, 2009. Blue Star Pictures, I Hate Vday Productions, ICB Entertainment Finance, My Bench Productions. Story by Nia Vardalos, Stephen David, Ben Zook, Screenplay by Nia Vardalos. Cinematography by Brian Pryzpek. Produced by Madeleine Sherak, William Sherak, Jason Shuman. Music by Keith Power. Production Design by Dara Wishingrad. Costume Design by Jenny Gering. Film Editing by Steve Edwards, Tony Lombardo.
Nia Vardalos reunites with her Big Fat Greek Wedding co-star John Corbett, taking over the reins as director as well as writer of this flat romantic comedy. She stars as a florist whose love of Valentine’s Day is motivated by the fact that she does not believe in love; romance is for suckers, like her best friend Zoe Kazan who is constantly getting her heart broken. Vardalos believes that two people can only go on five dates before the passion is over, which she tells the handsome restaurant owner (Corbett) who has just opened a Tapas bar down the street and wants to go out with her. After their fourth date, and following his miscalculating two nights of lovemaking as only one, he respects her rules and ends things between them and she, furious that it’s over, suddenly wonders if she believes what she preaches. Despite the sparkling talent of the film’s leading lady auteur and her heretofore proven chemistry with her co-star, this unfortunate misfire never gets on its feet, the low budget shows in the ugly cinematography and cheap production design, the dialogue sounds canned, and the supporting characters (including such stellar performers as Rachel Dratch and Jason Mantzoukas) are all lifeless and contrived versions of what we usually get in a Richard Curtis movie. Most disappointing is that Vardalos, who usually shows expert timing and charm, gives an illogically stiff performance, she spends most of the movie with a frozen grin on her face that makes for uncomfortable viewing, and falters most in the scenes that demand the heaviest lifting from her (like the climactic moment when she faces off with her estranged father). Best to skip this one and avoid having people you love ruined for you forever.