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Valentine

movie reviewmovie review out of 4

All-Reviews.com Movie Review: Valentine

Starring: David Boreanaz, Denise Richards
Director: Jamie Blanks
Rated: R
RunTime: 97 Minutes
Release Date: February 2001
Genres: Horror, Suspense


*Also starring: Jessica Capshaw, Jessica Cauffiel, Marley Shelton, Hedy Buress, Katherine Heigl, Daniel Cosgrove, Joel Palmer



Review by Harvey Karten
No Rating Supplied

Shakespeare wrote 38 plays by himself but four people were needed to write the screenplay for "Valentine." I'm not sure what the moral of that one would be, but looks as though this says something about the declining quality of writers between the early 16th Century and our own day. What's more, the four scripters even had a novel to use to lift their ideas from. The story is propelled by a handful of morbid Valentine's Day cards that a killer sends to the victims he or she has lined up, cards with which even Hallmark could do better. Take the only one that shows even the slightest intent to instill humor into a slasher film which unlike the "Scream" series takes itself with deadly seriousness: "Roses are red/ Violet are blue/They'll need dental records/To identify you." (Come to think of it that is pretty cute after all.) Trouble is that despite one particularly brutal execution that sees the perpetrator go beyond root canal therapy with an electric drill, in no case were the lovely people whose heads were pummeled, shattered against broken glass and in one particularly ingenious case killed by a combination of water, a drill and an electric shock that contrary to popular beliefs did not allow the victim thereafter to read women's minds.

Director Jamie Blanks opens the tale with what look like the sequel to Todd Solondz's "Welcome to the Dollhouse." A bespectacled, geeky but determined young man is trying unsuccessfully to get a few girls to dance with him at the school prom. Wrongfully accused of attacking the one wallflower who accepts his offer, he is sent to reform school presumably to seek revenge later against those who snubbed him and perjured themselves. Ten years later, we eavesdrop on the girlie talk involving Kate (Marley Shelton), Paige (Denise Richards), and Lily (Jessica Cauffiel), all crazy about the guys except for Paige, the one obnoxious bit of man bait who hates the opposite sex enough to tease it unmercifully. The scene that work best despite its lack of originality involves no knives or guns but deals with the young women as they involve themselves in a dating game in which each young man gets thirty seconds to impress each woman before moving on to the next table and repeating the process. As "Valentine" becomes darker with the usual false alarms, the bodies pile up, the killer wearing a mask that has more in common with Bob Smith's Howdy Doody than with Wes Craven's "Scream."

We're introduced to set pieces rather than human beings, each male characterized by a fatal flaw. To cite two examples, Adam (David Boreanaz), who is Kate's boy friend, is a drinker while Campbell (Daniel Cosgrove), is a two-timer. "Valentine" becomes a whodunit as more than one oddball has a motive for revenge.

We've seen it all before.

Copyright 2001 Harvey Karten

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