out of 4
All-Reviews.com Movie/Video Review
|*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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