On Friday, I lost a bet with an A&E editor. Two days later, I was by myself, waiting in a long line of moon-eyed couples at the AMC Forum, ready to review Garry Marshall’s newest film, Love, Actually II. Wait, no, that was the working title. I mean Valentine’s Day, starring everyone you would expect.
I know I’m not alone in characterizing Valentine’s Day as the most confusing, arbitrary and – for single people – downright frustrating “holiday” of the year. So when forced to cover the film, I thought, “Great, a chance to assert my independence and challenge the establishment.” But when I finally arrived at the front of the line to buy my ticket, I caved.
“Bonjour. How many?”
“Two,” I said, reflexively. “Also, two Mars bars, and some popcorn … jumbo-size … for my … girlfriend.”
Thirty dollars. Worth it.
The only pair of seats I managed to scout out were near the screen, but whatever. I placed my jacket on the seat next to me, whipped out my phone, and molded my face into an anxious, unhappy frown. The couple to my right looked at me quizzically. I talked to my phone for a while, lambasting it for being late and patiently explaining the difference between my left and its left. Then the lights dimmed, I let out an exasperated sigh, and settled in with my popcorn.
The movie was OK; it was what everyone in the audience – minus the guy dating an empty seat and a pile of junk food – wanted to see. However, Jessica Alba should never have gone blonde, and there’s something about Bradley Cooper’s face and mannerisms that induce both my gag reflex and a splitting headache. With that said, I thought Jamie Foxx and Jennifer Garner did the best they could with a mediocre screenplay.
I wish I could say more, but I left before the movie ended. Things were working out for the characters on-screen, my seatmates were becoming more and more romantically involved, and there was still time left to buy a bottle of wine and download a couple episodes of One Tree Hill before going to bed.