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Can't afford one star? Hire them all!

I'm an avowed romantic comedy fan, but "Valentine's Day" looks dreadful: too many actors and not enough talent. "Love Actually" had Liam Neeson, Alan Rickman and Emma Thompson. Plus, Hugh Grant, who may not be a fine thespian but is a definite rom-com machine. "Valentine's Day," by contrast, features Bradley Cooper and Ashton Kutcher, which I thought was against some sort of statute. But it turns out there's a good economic reason for this movie, and the director is unexpectedly honest about it:

Why has Hollywood started making movies based on vignettes?

It's become a business plan, because you can't get a star for five months anymore. They don't want to do that, and they're expensive. But to get them to do a week or four days, it's much easier.

Does it have to do with the fact that there's no pressure to open a movie?

That's very true. If the movie doesn't do well, it's the director's fault. They're off the hook.

The movie currently has a 12% on Rotten Tomatoes.

By Ezra Klein  |  February 11, 2010; 4:07 PM ET
Categories:  Movies  
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My 12 year old daughter *really* wants to see it. Now, she may have to wait until it comes out on DVD, but the approach seems to work on the Twilight demographic. At least in my house.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | February 11, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

The movie also features Jessica Alba, Kathy Bates, Jessica Biel, Eric Dane, Patrick Dempsey, Hector Elizondo, Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Garner, Topher Grace, Anne Hathaway, Carter Jenkins, Queen Latifah, Taylor Lautner, George Lopez, Shirley MacLaine, Emma Roberts, Julia Roberts, Bryce Robinson, Taylor Swift and a cast of thousands! It's like the "Cleopatra" of rom-coms.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | February 11, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if these vignette movies could be made quickly, to promote the stars that already have some other more major work about to come out?

TV can get stars to do one-off work, like sketches on late-night talk shows and SNL and so forth.

I assume it's easier to get the star involved if they're currently on a tour promoting another movie (which they probably filmed 12-24 months ago).

Guest starring roles could also be an example of this, like all those big-names who took small roles on "Friends."

Posted by: billkarwin | February 11, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

"Love, Actually" also had Laura Linney. Not that I can actually recommend the movie, having skipped it because I heard it su*ked.

Posted by: randrewm | February 11, 2010 7:17 PM | Report abuse

best valentine's films of all time.
waste not a is the best of the best....
best actors, best stories and in some, even the best music.

1. "black orpheus" with breno mello and marpessa dawn - 1959....absolutely magnificent in every single way.

2. "wuthering heights" with laurence olivier and merle oberon - 1939. quintessential.

3. "un homme et une femme"
(a man and a woman) with anouk aimee - 1959
so french.

4. "an affair to remember" with deborah kerr and cary grant - 1957.
the most elegant....and enough tears for a vial.

5. "love in the afternoon" audrey hepburn and gary cooper- 1957 it's audrey hepburn...what more needs to be said.

Posted by: jkaren | February 11, 2010 9:18 PM | Report abuse

Dear Ezra: After years of reading your blogs and agreeing with 99% of what you write, I find that you are actually a dirty rotten blasphemer.

Hugh Grant is too a fine thespian.

Posted by: KathyF | February 12, 2010 4:37 AM | Report abuse

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