When it comes to the world of romantic comedies, there’s a treasure trove of iconic couples who have stolen our hearts over the years. From chance encounters to whirlwind romances, the genre has delighted audiences with tales of love conquering all obstacles. But sometimes, it’s the unsung heroes of these films, the supporting characters, who unexpectedly steal the spotlight. In the case of the 2010 rom-com “Valentine’s Day,” it’s the charming duo of Liz and Jason, portrayed by Anne Hathaway and Topher Grace, who emerge as the true stars of the show.
In a genre teeming with predictable plots and overused tropes, “Valentine’s Day” dared to take a different path by shining a light on its secondary characters. Directed by the late Garry Marshall, the film boasted an all-star ensemble cast, including Ashton Kutcher, Julia Roberts, Jennifer Garner, Zac Efron, and more. While the A-listers had their own love stories to tell, it’s the B plot featuring Liz and Jason that truly captured our hearts.
The story of Liz and Jason begins on, appropriately, Valentine’s Day. After what appears to be a successful date night, we witness the couple’s sweet and playful chemistry, instantly drawing viewers into their budding romance. However, the seemingly perfect relationship takes an unexpected turn when Liz, played by Hathaway, rushes off, leaving Jason (Grace) bewildered and worried.
The twist in their romance is that Liz leads a double life as an adult phone entertainer, a secret she keeps from Jason. She takes off on her Vespa to answer steamy calls, all while maintaining her day job as a temp receptionist in the same office where Jason works in the mailroom. The hilarity ensues as Liz finds herself embroiled in risqué conversations, including playing the role of a Russian dominatrix or a southern matron for her clients.
Throughout the film, Liz’s challenge is to balance her everyday life with these unconventional calls, leading to comical and sometimes absurd situations. Valentine’s Day, being her busiest day of the year, adds to the chaos. Meanwhile, Jason, who has forgotten about the holiday, assumes his neglect is the cause of Liz’s upset. He plans a grand romantic gesture for the evening, which, unsurprisingly, Liz has to abandon to take a call. This leads Jason to misunderstand her intentions and jump to conclusions, believing she’s arranging a rendezvous with another man.
The ensuing conflict showcases the less-than-ideal reaction of Jason, who justifies his disappointment due to his Midwestern background. However, as the movie progresses, Jason has an epiphany when he witnesses another couple reconciling on Valentine’s Day. He realizes that he must love Liz for all her facets, not just the polished ones. The film beautifully resolves with a heartfelt apology and a touching romantic gesture from Jason, leading to a heartwarming reunion between the couple.
What truly makes Liz and Jason shine is the undeniable chemistry between Anne Hathaway and Topher Grace. Hathaway’s remarkable versatility shines through as she effortlessly transitions between her various roles, from a charming and confident date to a quirky and genuine receptionist and a wild and unpredictable phone entertainer. Her ability to switch personas on a dime adds depth to her character and adds layers of humor to the film.
Grace, while given a less extensive character arc, perfectly complements Hathaway with his sweet, awkward, and earnest portrayal of Jason. Their on-screen dynamic is both genuine and entertaining, creating an authentic and enjoyable relationship that is essential in the world of romantic comedies.
Although Liz and Jason do not enjoy as much screen time as the main characters, their smaller roles allow the filmmakers to experiment with their story, resulting in a unique and captivating subplot. While the A plots in “Valentine’s Day” follow somewhat predictable trajectories, it is within the sidelines of Liz and Jason’s relationship that the film finds its surprising charm and depth.
In conclusion, “Valentine’s Day” may have been known for its star-studded cast and intertwining romantic tales, but it’s the unexpected delight of Liz and Jason’s love story that truly sets it apart. Anne Hathaway and Topher Grace’s impeccable chemistry and their characters’ quirky journey make them the hidden gem of the film. Their tale reminds us that in the world of rom-coms, it’s often the supporting characters who leave the most lasting impressions, proving that love can be found in the most unexpected places.