Imagine a star-studded multistory romantic comedy (in the manner of “Love Actually”) with the structure and milieu of Robert Altman’s “Short Cuts” or Paul Haggis’s “Crash,” and you have a good idea of Garry Marshall’s latest.
The problem is that Altman (or even, Heaven help us, Haggis) would have come up with something funnier. A couple of dozen characters – played by Ashton Kutcher, Jennifer Garner, Shirley MacLaine, Anne Hathaway, Julia Roberts, Jamie Foxx, Jessica Biel, and a raft of other well-known performers – struggle with romantic issues and bump into each other repeatedly from dawn to dusk on the titular day. There’s nothing here you haven’t seen a million times before, but that’s not the problem.
Despite the best efforts of the players, the script is just flat. There are more (and far better) laughs to be found in the outtakes accompanying the closing credits than there are in the nearly two hours of the narrative. Grade: D (Rated PG-13 for some sexual material and brief partial nudity.)
Peter Rainer, the Monitor's movie critic, is on vacation this week.