American Fable is ambitious, maybe too much so sometimes, but there's an intense pleasure in the boldness of the film's style.
"I Hate Valentine’s Day” is a romantic comedy with one peculiarity: The heroine is stark, staring mad. I will tell you how I arrived at this diagnosis. Genevieve has an unbreakable policy regarding men: Five dates, and she’s out the door. She even specifies exactly what each of the dates must be like, leading up to No. 5, during which she doesn’t say so, but going all the way is a possibility.
Why does she impose these draconian measures? Because she likes only the falling in love part of an affair, and not the inevitable breaking up. She expects a guy to jump through the hoops and then disappear after No. 5, remaining of course a friend. When a woman says, We should stay friends, it translates as: Take your genitals to a far-away place and limit our contact to sending me flowers on my birthday.
Let’s assume conservatively that Genevieve started dating when she was 20, and that she has met on average three men a year willing to accept her strictures. And that after completing all the requirements, half of them have triumphantly arrived at home plate. Given her age, which a gentlemen does not mention, that works out to 39 sex partners. According to surveys reported by ABC News and the New York Times, which I don’t necessarily believe, the average American woman has between four and seven sex partners in a lifetime. That means Genevieve is not only an obsessive-compulsive, but a nympho.
Yet she looks so sweet. And knows she does. Yes, this is the second movie in close to a month, after “My Life in Ruins,” in which Nia Vardalos goes through the entire film smiling brightly and almost continuously. Nobody smiles that much unless they suffer from the rare giocondaphobia, or Constantly Smiling Syndrome, a complaint more often seen among viewers of Rush Limbaugh and field hands in “Gone With the Wind.”
At the ripe age of 89, Oscar can still be a notoriously picky fellow when it comes to what constitutes a contender fo...