The Love Bug

There’s a new communicable disease out there, and it’s called The Love Bug – it’s main symptoms are sappy sentiments and (in the more severe cases) blatant hypocrisy.  I don’t mean to be disparaging about the exclusive, romantic love between two (or more) people (which they choose to express ad nauseum this holiest of Hallmark holidays) – it is just worth mentioning that once someone comes down with The LB, he or she seems to fall under it’s interminable spell.  In other words, no matter how many “Singles Awareness Day”s a person spends when they are single (bashing Valentine’s Day as just another worthless, Hallmark holiday), all bets are off when that person gets into a relationship and falls into the ever-proverbial romantic love.
My husband is a principle example of this.
When we first met and during our early stages of dating, he bagged on Valentine’s Day more than any person I had ever met.  For a while, I actually thought his antipathy towards the day was excessive; yet, since I cared neither way for the holiday, I simply shrugged it off and figured that would get me off the hook in terms of gifts or other mandatory V-Day activities.  You can imagine my surprise, then, when my husband showed up one Valentine’s Day with a plan to take me on a gondola ride and out to lunch; followed by a year later of a nice, dinner/date-night.
So the rules of engagement have changed for us and our celebration of the day, which is fine (who am I to complain about a free meal!); and in fact, I can only assume this is the case for many of the other 180 million people that will celebrate with gifts and shows of affection today.  However, while I can accept a change in the rules and begin to participate by means of gifts and signs of affection year in and year out, it is hard to let go of my general, misanthropic tendency to look at the excess with which our culture conducts itself on this (and many other) occasions.  Because while my husband and I may do things on Valentines Day every year now, we will never go to some of the great lengths of excess and absurdity that permeates our culture to ever-greater degrees.
Of those 180 million people that will celebrating Valentine’s day today (determined by the annual number of cards purchased in honor of the holiday), 44% prefer to celebrate the holiday (in addition to the typical cards and gifts) by going out on a date night – be it dinner, dancing, or a movie.  And so, 14 days ago, I embarked on my adventure in romantic comedies to preface this year’s Date Night – reviewing the 14 most ridiculous, cliched, yet (ironically) sought after and liked-by-many films.  After 14 Flicks in 14 Days, I can say without certainty that romantic comedies are very difficult to swallow without a stiff drink and a great deal of patience.
1 February
When in Rome
I give this case of The Love Bug a spinal tap and CT scan to make sure the disease has not affected the brain’s cognitive functioning. 
The old saying goes “when in Rome, do as the Romans do;” which the title of this flick implies is what will happen as the story unfolds.  As it turns out, though, our main work-a-holic damsel did what the Romans did not do in Rome – which was to take coins out of the magic love fountain.  Besides its blatant lack of reality (which clearly made this more of a modern fable than a romantic comedy), the film had loop holes, inconsistencies, and countless anomalies that were clearly placed without explanation to make the story flow. 
2 February
Dirty Love
Can we get some Theraflu up in here for this case of The Love Bug, because our symptoms have gone beyond tolerable into the realm of annoying…
IMDB describes this flick as a “modern day Cinderella story,” which is why I chose it as ideal for this project in patience.  While it was perfect for 14 Flicks in 14 Days, it most certainly was not a Cinderella story; in fact, it had nothing in common with the classic fable at all.  Photographer Rebecca goes off on a search for her soul mate, and in doing so reminds us all that Jenny McCarthy is better left in the MTV history books.
3 February
Revenge of the Bridesmaids
At this point in the process, I was three days in and already needed a hefty dose of antibiotics to make it through the diseased state The Love Bug had put me in.  
While I did watch the film, to discuss it would run the risk of you, fine readers missing the following statement:  Do not watch this film!  It is beyond stupid.
4 February
Hot Times At Montclair High
The Love Bug is still here, but its effects are minor.
I will have to admit that I really liked Hot Times At Montclair High.  Perhaps because of its location on the world timeline at the end of the 1980s, it is a great film reminiscent of Sixteen Candles and Pretty In Pink – both romantic comedies, but in an entirely different league than those of the 21st century.  I wish more flicks were made like this today.

5 February
Bounty Hunter
This case of The Love Bug is too ridiculous to even make it past triage.
Taking place in New York, this film reminds me of Turner and Hooch, only instead of a cop and a dog we are forced to watch two hours of a bounty hunter and Jennifer Anniston.   
6 February
Dear John
Utter failure in keeping The Love Bug under control.
Nicholas Sparks should never be given the credibility of a screenplay.  I have no idea why (after The Notebook) this film was made.  Sparks does an excellent job of capitalizing on people’s most deepest, inner emotions and pains – in The Notebook it was those with Alzheimer’s; in Dear John it is war.  This is a much, longer blog on the moral problems with making money off things people identify with, thus fall privy to – when in the normal course of affairs the story line would be worthless.

7 February
The Truth About Cats and Dogs
Upon examination, this reviewer needed to wash multiple times.
Janeane Garofalo in a phone sex/bathtub masturbation scene – WHY?!
8 February
Nine Months
We hope The Love Bug can’t be passed in utero.
While the scene where Hugh Grant beats up a man in a toy store dressed as Barney holds some saving grace for this film, ultimately it is just another one of Hugh’s bang-up jobs at reminding us all why we don’t like his films.  For two hours we watch a couple at odds argue about whether to have a baby that (oops) is already a pending transaction.  Ultimately, I could have headed over to my neighbor’s house for a similar waste of my time; and it likely would have been (a) more interesting, and (b) minus the part where Julianne Moore and Joan Cusack give birth on camera. 

9 February
You’re So Cupid
The Love Bug’s a cheat!
I cheated and only watched 30 minutes of this film.  It was not that I did not want to watch and review it; only that after 30 minutes I realized that there is nothing unique to say about it at all.  This film is like every other romantic comedy ever made; and worse yet, it has a stupid name.

10 February
Sweet Home Alabama
Anything with Patrick Dempsey or Reese Witherspoon in it is going to have a case of The Love Bug.
McDreamy from Grey’s is the fiance of Reese Witherspoon’s character who (which she has not yet disclosed) is still married to her ex-husband in (as the title goes) sweet home, Alabama.  The film can be described as nothing other than “cute,” and while the end is a happy one for Witherspoon and her ex-husband (who get back together); I was disappointed because McDreamy got the shaft. 

11 February
Maid in Manhattan
The Love Bug is back and we almost need to go on life support.
When hotel maid JLo tries on a wealthy customer’s dress, a senatorial candidate sees her and falls in love at first site.  And so the ridiculous hoax begins.  In the end we realize that there is more to a person than their riches, and all ends well for everyone.  Can we get any more unrealistic than this film?  I think not.

12 February
The Proposal
You’ve got a case of denial … and The Love Bug.
When you read online reviews for this flick, everyone mentions that it’s worth seeing if only to see Betty White acting like a crazy old lady, chanting and rapping in the woods of Alaska.  The other two hours of yet another unrealistic plot line about a couple work-a-holics lying to one’s family, though, does not make White’s crazy worth trudging through the rest to see.  

13 February
Chaos Theory
Ryan Reynolds on the cover of this DVD with a duckface?  Looks like somebody’s got a case of The LB!
I could review this film, but unfortunately it inspired me to spend the entire time I watched it compiling a list of actors to blacklist from our future viewing pleasure.  After two bad, grossly unrealistic, romantic comedies, you’re out.  That list includes (but is not limited to):  JLo, Jennifer Anniston, Reese Witherspoon, Hugh Grant, Jenny McCarthy, Sandra Bullock, Ryan Reynolds and that chick from Forgetting Sarah Marshall.

14 February
National Lampoon’s Adam and Eve
This case of The Love Bug needs a priest and an exorcism more than a doctor and medication.
If this film had actually had anything to do with the Biblical Adam and Eve, its cover of the two, main characters covered in only leaves would be justified.  Ultimately, though, it is nothing more than undersexed college kids going to a fictitious California university – Adam wanting nothing more than his girlfriend to perform felacio; Eve wanting nothing more than to continue to be a tease.  The culminating point of the film, of course, was when Adam thought he had cheated on his girlfriend when he awoke one morning with a strange girl and a curious rash – a problem I think was unlikely to have plagued the Adam of Genesis.

So on this Valentine’s Day 2011, when we honor the poor, beheaded St. Valentine by giving each other fat-filled sweets and taking a break from our usual humdrum lives, skip the movie just this once.  Chances are if you do, you’ll avoid the inevitable choice of romantic comedy that will make you regret clicking “play” mere minutes after the plot unfolds.

In the long run, it’s better to just take Dr. Ruth’s advise and stay at home.

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