IF it was possible to wring out the mawkish sentiment from Hollywood films, then this would produce several buckets of syrup.
Every frame of the romantic comedy is drenched in sticky sweetness.
The cast is an embarrassment of riches – Oscar nominees and winners, bright young things of stage and screen – all battling valiantly to deliver hoary cliches with sincerity. Even the formidable Robert De Niro, as a bed-ridden cancer patient, has to grit his teeth.
Not even yesteryear’s similarly contrived Valentine’s Day (from the same director) will have prepared you for the relentless onslaught of schmaltz.
The free-wheeling plot centres on a cross-section of New Yorkers, each of whom faces a momentous decision before midnight.
Stan (De Niro) clings to life under the care of nurse Aimee (Halle Berry), while record company secretary Ingrid (Michelle Pfeiffer) offers cycle courier Paul (Zac Efron) four tickets to the hottest party of the year in exchange for realising her resolutions before midnight.
The film is sickly tosh. Aside from the plot strand involving Efron and Pfeiffer, it rings hollow, practising shameless emotional manipulation at every turn.
Comedy and tragedy make awkward bedfellows here.