Movie Review By Monica Sullivan
No question about it, grade school dances are grisly. I was more or less forced to go to mine, which I considered cruel & unusual punishment. The grade school dance in "Valentine" shows the nasty reality behind these functions & cranks it up a notch, as all horror movies are required to do. 13 years later & five 25 year old women from the same grade school are still single & still friends. How often does that ever happen? Just to confuse the audience, four of them are gorgeous blondes & the brunette is Denise Richards, 26, as Paige, last seen as a nuclear physicist in a Bond film. They're all supposed to be in the same class, but they're played by 22-year-old Katherine Heigl as Shelly, Jessica Cauffiel as Lily, 24-year-old Jessica Capshaw as Dorothy & 26-year-old Marley Shelton as Kate. Then there's David Boreanaz as Adam & Daniel Cosgrove as Campbell, both in their thirties, who may or may not have been in the same class with them, later changing their identities for plot reasons. So I guess some of them were in sixth grade for five or six years & some of them skipped a few grades so they could all be in the same class or something. Also for plot reasons, most of them have vague jobs that the screenwriters slap on their introductions to new characters. Said screenwriters hide stuff throughout the movie that they never find the time to explain, not even at the end. They always have time to show the friends being killed off one by one by a resentful alumnus from sixth grade. Yeh, some of the guys receive equal opportunity slayings, but with nowhere near the same attention to detail as the female victims. Denise Richards says her lines as if she's underlined all the important words. Jessica Capshaw & Daniel Cosgrove say their lines without moving their jaw muscles, maybe so their facial muscles won't crack. David Boreanaz says most of his lines like he's going to be forced to sing Barry Manilow's "Mandy" in a karaoke bar. Marley Shelton plays a journalist without a single ripple of investigative curiousity ever crossing her face. Katherine Heigl is both the youngest & the most experienced actor in "Valentine," but unfortunately we don't get to see enough of her. To muddle the narrative, Johnny Whitworth is Max Ives, a sleazeball artist, & Fulvio Cercere plays a sleazeball police detective. This is director Jamie Blanks' second horror movie. The first was "Urban Legend." This is the second screenwriting credit for Donna & Wayne Powers. The first was "Deep Blue Sea," the 1999 flop by Renny Harlin. Any episode of "Buffy, The Vampire Slayer," "Angel" or "Roswell" is scarier, eerier & funnier.
© 2001 - Monica Sullivan - Air Date: 2/7/01
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