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MSRP: $19.98
RUNNING TIME: 89 Minutes

- Commentary with writer/director/star Nia Vardalos and producers Jason Schuman and William Sherak
- Theatrical trailer

The Pitch
My Big Fat Greek Wedding duo Nia Vardalos and John Corbett reunite! Just what we’ve all been waiting for.

The Humans
Cast: Nia Vardalos, John Corbett, Rachel Dratch, Judah Friedlander. Writer/Director: Nia Vardalos

The Nutshell
Genevieve (Nia Vardalos) is a relationship guru who has a philosophy to keep the romance alive in her relationships– only go on 5 dates and move on before the spark fades. But her philosophy is put to the test when she begins to fall for local restauranter, Greg (John Corbett).

The Lowdown
It’s been 8 years since My Big Fat Greek Wedding came out and I’m still trying to figure out how it became the box office juggernaut it did. It was a middle-of-the-road romantic comedy that was broad and stupid but entertaining enough that I don’t recall hating myself too much after watching it. It was the perfect movie for your parents to go see, and apparently everyone’s parents did just that. Nia Vardalos’ career since then has proven just what a fluke that film was, as she’s been in (and often written) critical and box office failures ever since. Vardalos adds “director” to her list of credits with I Hate Valentine’s Day, a film so inept and poorly made on every level that it’s a wonder anyone involved still has a career.

How are you supposed to know it’s a comedy if there aren’t wacky faces?

Why can’t the creative teams behind modern romantic comedies accurately portray relationships? It shouldn’t be hard. It’s reasonable to believe that everyone involved has been in a relationship with another human being and know what it’s like to interact with said human. But movies like I Hate Valentine’s Day make me wonder if once you start making movies you forget what basic human interaction is like. Vardalos plays the type of character that only exists in movies– a florist who gives advice on relationships to everyone she knows but has some crazy personal philosophy that keeps her from ever getting close to a man… and then she meets the man of her dreams and doesn’t know what to do. The problem with a movie like this is that there’s no reason why these two people shouldn’t be together. They like each other, they should be together, philosophy be damned. But because it’s a movie, that can’t happen. A bunch of phony roadblocks are put in their way to keep the two apart until the last couple of minutes. We’ve seen it all before, only handled infinitely better.

Half of the budget went to surgically altering Nia Vardalos’ face so she could maintain this maniacal grin for the entire movie.

The biggest problem with the film is that the main character is almost certifiably insane. The first 45 minutes of the movie consists of her walking around with a terrifyingly giant smile on her face, spouting her unrealistic advice to everyone. Once her and Corbett’s characters start dating, she dictates what’s supposed to happen on every date and is generally insufferable. When they are kept apart for stupid reasons she breaks down and becomes the type of person who hates romance and won’t shut up about it. Character growth! I think Vardalos and company think that her character’s behavior in the first half of the movie is a sort of self-deception and we’re supposed to know she’ll find herself eventually. The only problem is she behaves this way for so long, and Vardalos portrays her as such a shrill psycho, that she’s just intensely unlikeable instead of flawed. They even throw in some daddy issues to try to add some dimension to the character but it’s all in vain.

Genevieve’s friends and family adopted the wrong tone for her intervention.

One of the other major flaws is the film is incompetently directed by first-timer Vardalos. The whole thing looks flat and too bright half the time and 2 person scenes are shot in medium close-ups of each person, so it never feels like two people are actually conversing. I understand that it was a low budget film with a first time director but, at times, the eyelines don’t match up and it appears that Vardalos is looking over Corbett’s head. That’s just unacceptable. I Hate Valentine’s Day is a misfire in every department and even by today’s rom-com standards, it fails. Which is really saying something.

There’s never an 85-year-old man in a Lincoln Continental when you need one.

The Package
The DVD comes with a trailer and a commentary by Vardalos and two producers. The commentary actually helps illuminate why the film is so horrible. The producers came to Vardalos with the title and she wrote a script around it. They were only able to secure financing with Vardalos and Corbett starring and couldn’t find a director, which forced their leading lady to step behind the camera. This goes to show how NOT to make a movie, because the film feels as half-assed as a movie that was developed from only a title should. There’s plenty of other tid-bits that help explain why the movie is so bad and it’s actually much more entertaining than the movie itself but that should not, by any means, be taken as a recommendation to come anywhere near this DVD.

2.0 out of 10