"Kutcher is great as the florist who discovers his true love, who has always been right in front of him"
So, here we have Love Actually, LA style. It's a Valentine's Day ensemble comedy directed by Pretty Woman's Garry Marshall, whose years as a rom-com veteran have netted him a cast of Hollywood stars, old and new. Some of them glitter, some merely glimmer and a few may have signed up only because everybody else had. All ages are represented. There's a precociously loved-up 10-year-old and at the other end of the generational spectrum is his grandmother, played by a skittish Shirley MacLaine
Of course, when you have so many stars, that means so many stories; and less time for character development. This is where the film mostly disappoints, very little developing or changing from anyone associated with the film. Without revealing too much, there is literally 10 or 11 (lost count) plot lines mixing and intertwining together in a span of just two hours. This equals an average of 12 minutes per story. In actuality however, some stories are actually shorter than others. The execution wasn't the best considering that some stories worked and some were just boring to the core. Poor Garry Marshall can only do so much, even though his best days (Pretty Woman, Happy Days) are long gone.
On the upside there are a number of highlights. Kutcher is great as the florist who discovers his true love, who has always been right in front of him. Anne Hathaway is comic genius as the office temp, who moonlights as phone sex provider. Hearing Hathaway's raunchy talk in German accent is inspired. Jennifer Garner is wonderful as the lonely schoolteacher, who thinks she has found Mr. Right in Harrison (smooth Patrick Dempsey). Eric Dane is charismatic and understated as pro quarterback Sean Jackson, who has arrived at his life's crossroad. Jessica Biel is surprisingly funny and goofy in what could have been an otherwise superfluous role as Kara. Even Taylor Swift may have a career as a light comic actress. Swift also contributes a couple new songs to the movie.
Don't expect any fresh ideas or surprises and beware of a few speed bumps in the story. It is a sweet and funny couple hours where Marshall reminds us that compassion and love never get old, and always live on.