To try and explain the various stories that intermingle and run parallel to each other in the movie is probably an insurmountable task, what with all 21 actors struggling for screen space and a story outline. In short, it follows couples of all ages and at all levels of their relationships. From an old married couple played by Hector Elizondo and Shirley MacLaine, to an army officer (played by Julia Roberts) interacting with a businessman (played by Bradley Cooper), about coming home to meet the love of her life, the movie traces relations across all barriers.
It tries to tick mark all the boxes with regards to the age old formulas. Namely, a story about best friends, who do not realize they love each other, or a guy who thinks the girl who talks to him nicely actually loves him, or a girl loves a guy, only to find out that he is married, or strangers striking up a conversation, or a fifth graders first crush, or even a gay celebrity coming out of the closet. The movie tries to incorporate it all, which is not only confusing, but does not do justice to every story, as none of the stories are given enough screen time.
The characters vie for screen space. While the stories try to be different, there is just too much happening and too many actors. The movie feels like it is gridlocked, with every actor and his story jamming the other into place. With a traffic jam of famous faces, the movie feels less like a story and more like a shout out fest, where each actor that appears on screen can be called out for their token two minute presence.
There are so many actors in this movie that at least 3-4 more romantic movies and a few sitcoms could easily be made with the star cast ensemble of Valentine’s Day. Towards the end, each actors story is closed, with each couple reconciling in some way or the other for a “happy ending” on Valentine’s Day. Hiccups that have taken place along the way in many of the relationships which are showcased smooth themselves out and reunite the couples along the way.
The movie can be described as a one-time watch, as a date flick, but over and above that the movie is not only complicated to follow (what with way too many actors running about the silver screen) but also not very evolved-story and role wise. Or maybe there are just too many stories happening all at once.