It’s “Valentine’s Day,” have a drink

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After the box office success of last year’s “He’s Just Not that Into You,” the $63 million opening weekend for “Valentine’s Day” cements a new formula: the Valentine’s weekend celebrity ensemble rom-com. Pack as many celebrities (preferably A-list, but probably B-list) and heartwarming clichés into 90 minutes, and let the happy couples stream into the theater. Essentially, it’s an American “Love, Actually,” without being unique or insightful, released on the most romantic day of the year.

It will be interesting to see how the studios top “Valentine’s Day” next February because they may have taken the formula to the extreme. It would be difficult to find a title more thematically and literally to the point, and the all-star cast includes Julia and Emma Roberts, Ashton Kutcher, Anne Hathaway, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Garner, Jamie Foxx, Jessicas Alba and Biel, Taylors Swift and Lautner and many more. Each star gets around ten minutes of screen time, where they fulfill some romantic comedy niche: the best friends who become lovers, the high school sweethearts, the old married couple. The entire movie takes place on Valentine’s Day — although, somewhat confusingly, this Valentine’s Day is on a Monday, so perhaps it’s set in 2011? In which case, it’s disconcerting to discover that a year from now, all African-Americans have become sassy, and it’s become culturally acceptable for strangers to interject pithy punch lines into private conversations.

Critics generally panned “Valentine’s Day,” but that was somewhat missing the point. Sure, it’s interesting to point out which actors were best (Garner, Hathaway and Julia Roberts) and which were worst (Queen Latifah, Topher Grace), but for lovers of romantic comedies, “Valentine’s Day” is more like Christmas. Sit back, relax, spot the celebrities, laugh at the silly jokes, coo at the romantic banter. In the spirit of treating “Valentine’s Day” as more of an observational experience than a movie, in lieu of a full review, we present a drinking game:

Take One Drink Every Time …

- a child says something alarmingly precocious and/or wise

- a Blackberry is entirely blamed for a woman’s relationship problems

- you are taken aback by Jessica Biel or Jennifer Garner’s remarkable arm muscles

- Biel and Garner’s arm muscles appear on screen together, and you can’t focus on anything else

- one character unexpectedly appears in another’s story

- you forget that Patrick Dempsey — despite the fact he’s playing a personality-less surgeon — is not named Derek Shepherd in this film

- the name of the flower shop is mentioned (Siena Bouquet, FYI)

- Jessica Alba does something annoying or says something like a robot (or, more simply, whenever she appears on screen)

- Anne Hathaway whips out a new funny accent

- you wish the entire movie was about Hathaway’s character

- you wish the entire movie was about Julia Roberts’ character

- a male character (Carter Jenkins, Eric Dane) appears shirtless for no real reason

- you wonder why Ashton Kutcher is wearing that weird long-sleeved pink shirt

- Queen Latifah reacts as a stereotypical Black Woman in a Romantic Comedy

- George Lopez reacts as a stereotypical Latino Man in a Movie

- you want Jessica Biel to stop moving around so much

- Emma Roberts says something inappropriate about her sex life

- you forget Katherine Heigl isn’t in this movie

- Taylors Swift and Lautner are on screen, but AREN’T making out (this isn’t very often — and they have a decent amount of screen time)

- Taylor Swift mentions how hot someone is

- Taylor Lautner reminds you why he’s landed five starring roles in the past two months (you will never drink for this reason)

- you pity Topher Grace because he clearly is not capable of matching Hathaway’s charisma

- a simple line clumsily refers to the larger context (“Doesn’t Daddy juggle well?” “Now that’s how you perform open heart surgery!”)

- Bryce Robinson makes you cry as a little boy who misses his mommy

- you catch an inside joke (winky reference to Roberts and Cooper’s Broadway play, “Three Days of Rain” and Swift’s real-life lucky number 13)

- a character says “Unfortunately, the truth makes everything else seem like a lie” (this only happens once, but it’s a really cutting line!)

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