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Star-studded film no romantic fairy tale

Valentine's Day," directed by Gary Marshall, follows the lives of 20 Los Angeles residents as they navigate their way through the overly commercialized "most romantic day of the year" ... Valentine's Day.

Some of these lovestruck couples unsuccessfully attempt to make the much anticipated day of Feb. 14 especially romantic for their partners, while others, such as the cynical and sometimes psychotic sports publicist Kara (played by Jessica Biel), are trying to forget that the holiday ever existed.

Meanwhile, Reed (Ashton Kutcher) feels that he is ready to propose to his girlfriend (Jessica Alba). Is he, perhaps, disregarding his underlying romantic feelings for his longtime best friend, Julia (Jennifer Garner), who doesn't realize that she may be falling for "Mr. Wrong"?

On the other side of town, a tightly-wound, no-nonsense accountant (Topher Grace) searches for love in the arms of a woman named Liz (Anne Hathaway), who has a career that some might consider a bit shady. Will these individuals work through their many relationship flaws and find true happiness ... or will they have a less than happy ending?

Find out for yourself in this clever, charming, but definitely not "typical" romantic comedy. Although "Valentine's Day" offers some light and sweet storylines, such as the excitement of first love for a giddy teenage couple (hilariously portrayed by Taylor Swift in her first movie role and "Twilight's" Taylor Lautner), this film also illustrates the no-so-pleasant side of romance through somewhat cynical narrative eyes.

The aforementioned is the one "special ingredient" that sets "Valentine's Day" apart from many of its "sugary-sweet" predecessors.

In other words, this movie has substance, as well as what could be the largest all-star cast in the history of filmmaking. Some of Hollywood's most well-known and beloved actors exhibit their talents in "Valentine's Day," including Julia Roberts (as a determined military captain), Patrick Dempsey (as a less than trustworthy ... you guessed it ... doctor), George Lopez, the always entertaining Queen Latifah, Kathy Bates, Shirley MacLaine and Bradley Cooper ... just to name a few!

The film's writing, dialogue, and one-liners are very well written, however, in a few scenes it is remotely evident that some minor details have been overlooked. With that being said, this film is certainly a must-see. "Valentine's Day" successfully accomplished what many romantic comedies before its time have failed to achieve: it accurately illustrates that love -- although at times both rewarding and gratifying -- is not a fairy tale and is far from perfect.

Victoria Henley, 16, is the daughter of Lynn and Russ Henley of Colquitt. She occasionally reviews movies for The Albany Herald.

Valentine's Day is rated PG-13 for some sexual material and brief partial nudity.